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Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) and Two of its Derivative Substances

  • CAS Registry Number 79-94-7
  • CAS Registry Number 4162-45-2
  • CAS Registry Number 25327-89-3

What are they?

  • Tetrabromobisphenol A, also known as TBBPA, and two of its derivative substances, TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) and TBBPA bis(allyl ether), are industrial chemicals from a family of chemicals known as brominated flame retardants.

How are they used?

  • TBBPA, TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) and TBBPA bis(allyl ether) are used as flame retardants in plastics and resins. TBBPA bis(allyl ether) may also be used in polystyrene foams.
  • Based on the most recent data, TBBPA and TBBPA bis(allyl ether) are not manufactured in Canada but are imported into Canada. TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) is not manufactured in or imported into Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess them?

  • Prior to the assessment, these three substances were identified as a potential concern to the environment.  
  • These three substances were not considered to be a priority for assessment of potential risks to human health; however, potential health effects were also evaluated in this screening assessment.

How are they released to the environment?

  • TBBPA and TBBPA bis(allyl ether) may be released to the environment during industrial processing activities.
  • Release of TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) to the environment is expected to be negligible as this substance is not manufactured in or imported into Canada.

How are Canadians exposed to them?

  • Exposure of the general population of Canada to TBBPA is expected to be from contaminated environmental media (ambient air, indoor air and drinking water), household dust, food and products containing TBBPA such as electronics and adhesives.
  • Canadians may also be exposed to TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) and TBBPA bis(allyl ether) from these sources.

What are the results of the assessment?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of TBBPA, TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) and TBBPA bis(allyl ether), called a screening assessment.
  • Screening assessments address potential for harm to the general population in Canada (not including workplace exposures) and the environment.
  • Results of the final screening assessment indicate that although TBBPA, TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) and TBBPA bis(allyl ether) are not expected to accumulate in organisms, these substances may remain in  the environment for a long time.
  • However, the quantity of TBBPA and TBBPA bis(allyl ether) that may be released to the environment is below the level expected to cause harm to organisms. Environmental releases of TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) is not expected as this substance is not manufactured in or imported into Canada.
  • The Government of Canada has therefore concluded that TBBPA, TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) and TBBPA bis(allyl ether) are not entering the environment at levels that constitute a danger to the environment.
  • Although conservative estimates of exposure suggested that breast-fed infants may be exposed to more TBBPA than older Canadians, recent studies have shown that TBBPA was virtually undetected in breast milk and blood samples from pregnant women in North America, including Canada.
  • The Government of Canada has also concluded that TBBPA, TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) and TBBPA bis(allyl ether) are not harmful to human health at current levels of exposure.

What is the Government of Canada doing?

  • Although there is currently limited exposure in Canada to TBBPA, there may be concerns if new activities were to occur, including increased volume of manufacture, import or use. Therefore, options on how best to monitor changes in the exposure to this substance will be investigated.
  • The final screening assessment report on TBBPA, TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) and TBBPA bis(allyl ether) was published on November 30, 2013.

What can Canadians do?

  • The health risks associated with a chemical depend on the hazard (its potential to cause health effects) and the dose (the amount of chemical to which you are exposed). TBBPA, TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) and TBBPA bis(allyl ether) are not a concern for the environment or human health at current levels of exposure.
  • As a general precaution, Canadians are reminded when using any product to carefully follow any safety warnings and directions.  
  • Canadians who handle TBBPA, TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether) and TBBPA bis(allyl ether) in the workplace should consult with their occupational health and safety representative about safe handling practices, applicable laws and requirements under the Next link will take you to another Web site Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).