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Oxirane, (chloromethyl)- (Epichlorohydrin)

CAS Registry Number 106-89-8

What is it?

  • Epichlorohydrin is an industrial chemical.

How is it used?

  • Epichlorohydrin is used to make other chemical products, such as epoxy resins which are used in protective coatings, including those used for lining food and beverage cans.
  • Chemicals made from epichlorohydrin are used in the treatment of drinking water and wastewater and in the production of paper products (tissues, toweling, beverage filters, etc.)
  • Epichlorohydrin may also be found in very low amounts in epoxy adhesives, coatings and putties.
  • Epichlorohydrin is listed as a food additive in Canada's Food and Drug Regulations; however, it is unlikely that it is used today and, if so, levels of epichlorohydrin would be very low.
  • Based on the most recent data (2006), epichlorohydrin is not manufactured in Canada nor imported into Canada in quantities exceeding 100 kg per year.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it?

  • Epichlorohydrin was identified as a potential concern to human health based on its classification by an international organization as a substance which was found to cause cancer in some studies with laboratory animals.
  • Epichlorohydrin was also believed to have a high potential for exposure to Canadians.
  • Epicholohydrin was assessed by Government of Canada scientists to help decide if further actions might be necessary so that the health of Canadians and the environment are protected.

How are Canadians exposed to it?

  • Exposure of the general population in Canada to epichlorohydrin, including from cans and drinking water, is expected to be very low.

What is the Government of Canada doing?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted an evaluation of epichlorohydrin based on science, called a screening assessment.
  • The Government of Canada has determined that epichlorohydrin is considered to be harmful to human health.
  • Although Canadians' exposure is very low, the Government of Canada is taking action so that exposure remains very low.
  • Risk management options include the development of a future notification tool so that new uses in Canada do not increase exposure for Canadians. It is also being proposed that epichlorohydrin be added to the Next link will take you to another Web site Cosmetic Ingredient "Hotlist" which will prevent its future use in cosmetics.
  • The final screening assessment report and proposed risk management approach document were published on January 31, 2009. The proposed risk management approach will be subject to a 60-day public comment period ending April 1, 2009.

What should Canadians do?

  • Because exposure to epichlorohydrin is very low, Canadians do not need to take any specific actions to reduce their exposure.