Health Canada’s Hazardous Substance Assessments

 In Product Safety

By: Kirsten Alcock, Manager of Product Safety, email

Last year at the Society for Chemical Hazard Classification (SCHC) conference in Washington DC, Kim Godard and Véronique Lalonde of Health Canada gave an update of where the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) stands in Canada. With this information, they advised that Health Canada is looking into providing “Hazardous Substance Assessments” for commonly used chemicals in Canada. It’s here! On January 22, 2020, Health Canada advised that they have performed assessments on five chemicals thus far. The information can be found here.

The following chemicals have a Hazardous Substance Assessment:

  • Acetone
  • Adipic Acid
  • Diethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether
  • n-Butyl Acetate
  • Sodium Hydroxide

They described these Hazardous Substance Assessments (HSAs) as technical documents that describe the GHS classification of a chemical and place them into the categories outlined in the Hazardous Products Act (HPA). In accordance with the regulations in Canada, they are planning on providing HSAs with detail to advise on which of the 12 health hazards a chemical falls into as well as the 20 physical hazards.

The HSAs will provide transparency as to how Health Canada classifies certain chemicals under the HPA. The HSAs are expected to serve as an information source that can be used by suppliers or employers to help classify their own products and help with Health Canada inspection reviews.

They also advised that the HSAs will not represent a classification decision for a specific product. Ultimately you are responsible for providing the proper classification for your product as a whole. If there is more recent data available, one is expected to use this instead of the HSA. Should you have test data for your product as a whole, this will always trump the HSA information. According to Health Canada, “It is the responsibility of the supplier to ensure the accuracy, sufficiency, and reliability of their hazardous product classifications”.

The HSA breakdown is as follows:

  1. Identification
  2. Health Hazards
  3. Physical Hazards
  4. Regulatory and Other Information

Health Canada plans to establish a growing online repository of the HSAs.

If you have questions about the data provided by Health Canada, they encourage you to contact them:

Workplace Hazardous Materials Bureau
Consumer and Hazardous Products Safety Directorate
Health Canada

If you need help with your classifications for those that aren’t classified by Health Canada, we do offer a raw material classification service to our clients. Many of our clients have internal sources for creating SDSs but the raw materials themselves need to be classified properly first before you can do your assessment for your product as a whole. Please feel free to contact us for further information on our consulting services and how we can help keep your SDSs and labels in compliance.

Dell Tech
Kirsten Alcock, B.Sc. (Hons) 
Manager, Product Safety Group

Dell Tech has provided professional, confidential consulting services to the chemical specialty industry in Canada, the USA, Europe, and Asia for the last 40 years.

Contact us today for more information.

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Canadian Law And Justice ConceptMethylene diphenyl diisocyanate is an aromatic diisocyanate.