The ACGIH is a non-profit, nongovernmental professional society of industrial hygienists and other safety professionals. It is a scientific organization that produces evidence-based guidelines for exposure limits in the workplace. These guidelines are published annually in a publication called the “TLVs and BEIs.” TLV stands for ‘threshold limit value’ (the exposure limit over an 8-hour workday), and BEI stands for ‘biological exposure index’ (the maximum level allowed in some specified biological material, such as urine or blood). Many jurisdictions adopt the ACGIH TLV guidelines (sometimes with exceptions) for their workplace regulations on exposure limits.
The ATSDR is a federal public health agency in the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The ATSDR produces comprehensive Toxicological Profiles and short ToxFAQs summaries for toxic chemicals found at hazardous waste sites in the National Priority List (NPL). ATSDR Toxicological Profiles documents contain a range of information on various toxic substances, including their production and use, toxicokinetics, and potential for human occupational and environmental exposure.
The CEPA is the main piece of pollution prevention and environmental protection legislation in Canada. In the Act, “toxic substances” are defined as “entering or may enter the environment in a quantity of concentrations or under conditions that: (a) have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity; (b) constitute or may constitute a danger to the environment on which life depends; or (c) constitute or may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health.” These criteria are known as “paragraphs” in the legislation. Toxic substances fulfilling at least one of these criteria are specified in the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 of the CEPA.
The Chemicals Management Plan is a Canadian government initiative to evaluate and manage how chemicals are used and regulated in Canada. It has many facets, one of which is the Challenge to Industry, which is often referred to as simply “The Challenge.” Approximately 200 chemicals on the Domestic Substances List (DSL) met the criteria of having the potential to harm human health or the environment. These chemicals represent the highest priority for risk assessment. The government of Canada had required industry and other stakeholders to provide information on these 200 substances in numbered batches (these are referred to in the CAREX Carcinogen Profiles), including how they are currently used and managed in Canada. In addition to which batch the specific chemicals are included in, we also report why they were prioritized (i.e. either for environmental concerns, health concerns, or both) in our CAREX Carcinogen Profiles.
The DSL is a list of approximately 23,000 chemicals that were in use in Canada between 1984 and 1986. These chemicals were chosen as a starting point for Health Canada to prioritize risk assessment and action for toxic chemicals in order to protect human, animal, and environmental health. Chemicals in the DSL were categorized into several priority groups with different levels of potential for exposure to Canadians (‘greatest’, ‘intermediate’, and ‘lowest’).
The Ontario DWSP is a voluntary scientific drinking water surveillance program operated by the Ontario Ministry of Environment since 1986. Levels of over 270 parameters such as metals, pesticides and organic compounds are monitored in drinking water samples collected from participating municipalities in Ontario. The majority of parameters tested are non-regulated emerging contaminants. Results of the DWSP are used in our CAREX environmental exposure estimates to assess Canadian exposure to CAREX substances via drinking water.
The EPA is the government agency in the US responsible for environmental science, research, education, and assessment. The EPA has many publically available reports and factsheet documents that relate to environmental carcinogens.
Google Earth is a mapping program that allows users to navigate a virtual 3-dimensional globe by combining satellite images with geographical, political, social and commercial information. The CAREX Emission Mapping Program (EMP) is based on the Google Earth platform. Google Earth may be downloaded here.
The HPD is a database maintained by the US National Library of Medicine. The database contains chemical ingredient information in over 11,000 consumer household products. The database also includes information on chemical ingredient health effects and links to consumer product Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) where available. If a substance is used as an active ingredient in consumer products, environmental exposure through the use of such products may occur. CAREX Canada performed systematic searches of the database by substance name and search results were presented in CAREX Carcinogen Profiles.
The HSDB is a text-string searchable database maintained by the US National Library of Medicine under the ToxNet Toxicology Data Network. The HSDB compiles information on over 5,000 potentially hazardous chemicals from a number of sources such as books, government documents and peer-reviewed journal articles. Individual chemical records contain information on chemical and physical properties, toxicology, human exposure health effects, emergency handling procedures, environmental fate and regulatory requirements. We performed searches on all CAREX substances in the HSDB and reviewed the entries, using them to guide searches for relevant original sources. The HSDB also includes a very comprehensive list of synonyms (including proprietary names) that may be of use to some readers.
The IARC is a part of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a multifaceted organization that engages in both laboratory and epidemiological cancer research. The IARC also holds meetings with invited scientific experts in order to systematically summarize existing information and classify carcinogens according to their ability to cause cancer in humans. The IARC produces monographs summarizing the results of these meetings, and these are a standard data source for CAREX Canada. IARC has 3 groups of carcinogens that are included in CAREX Canada: Group 1 (carcinogenic to humans), Group 2A (probably carcinogenic to humans), and 2B (possibly carcinogenic to humans).
Canadian companies are required to report to Environment Canada the amounts of specific pollutants that were released to the environment, disposed of, or recycled. The NPRI is a publically available database that contains these commercial reported releases. In the CAREX Carcinogen Profiles, we report NPRI data found for each CAREX substance when available. NPRI data are summarized and reported in our Profiles in three categories: “released to the environment,” “disposed of,” and “sent to off-site recycling.” “Released to the environment” refers to the total amount released into the air (i.e. through stack emissions), water, or land. “Disposed of” refers to the total amount disposed on-site and off-site (i.e. sent to another company, or to some other waste site). “Sent to off-site recycling” refers to the total amount sent away for recycling by a third party.
There are, however, important limitations to NPRI data. Facilities that are primarily involved in oil and gas exploration and drilling are exempt from all reporting requirements, meaning that chemicals typically emitted by this type of source will be underestimated in the data we report (i.e. PAHs, benzene, etc.). The NPRI only includes data for pre-selected chemicals (i.e. not all substances are reportable), and there are specific thresholds that determine whether or not a company is required by law to report their data. The first type of threshold is size of company: companies that have less than ~10 full-time employees are not required to report. There are also substance-specific thresholds for reporting. For a large number of substances on the NPRI list, this is 10 tonnes, meaning that facilities releasing less than 10 tonnes are not required to report their emissions. This threshold is lower for some chemicals, including some heavy metals, particulate matter, and some hydrocarbons.
The NTP is an interagency program in the US under the Department of Health and Human Services. The NTP produces a document called the Report on Carcinogens (RoC), which is a scientific and public health report that identifies carcinogens and probable carcinogens in the environment. The RoC contains information on substance properties, use and production, human exposure, as well as evidence for animal and human carcinogenicity. For the purposes of preparing the CAREX Canada Carcinogen Profiles, we used the NTP’s 14th RoC as a source of information. A factsheet on the 14th Report on Carcinogens can be found here.
The OEHHA is an agency under the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) responsible for conducting health risk assessments for environmental chemicals and developing environmental exposure limit guidelines and recommendations for other US regulatory agencies. The OEHHA developed cancer potency factors for a number of environmental carcinogens. These cancer potency factors are used alongside Health Canada and US EPA cancer potency factors in CAREX environmental estimates to produce potential lifetime excess cancer risk values.
TradeMap Canada is maintained by the International Trade Center in Geneva. They collect global trade statistics and convert them to a standardized, user-friendly system for tracking world trade. Data comes from different sources, depending on the country. For Canada, data are from Comtrade, the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database. We report 2010 substance trade data for Canada in CAREX Carcinogen Profiles, when available. We searched the TradeMap database by chemical names and synonyms under the Advanced Search option. This produces a list of potential entries where the keyword was found (many of our substances could be found under several different trade headings, especially metals). We report the amounts imported and exported, and provide information on Canada’s the largest trading partner(s). Note that for any given substance, there could be dozens of other countries with more minor trade. As of February 2012, free trial guest accounts were available from the TradeMap website.
The USGS is a scientific US government agency that is responsible for studying and providing information on natural resources and natural hazards. The USGS produces many reports on commodities such as minerals, metals, and related activities such as mining. Although primarily focused on US data, the USGS also produces many reports that include natural resources data from Canada.
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The CAREX Canada team offers two regular newsletters: the biannual e-Bulletin summarizing information on upcoming webinars, new publications, and updates to estimates and tools; and the monthly Carcinogens in the News, a digest of media articles, government reports, and academic literature related to the carcinogens we’ve classified as important for surveillance in Canada. Sign up for one or both of these newsletters below.
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As a national organization, our work extends across borders into many Indigenous lands throughout Canada. We gratefully acknowledge that our host institution, the University of British Columbia Point Grey campus, is located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.