• Canada Proposes Adding Acrylamide to List of Toxic Substances
  • September 17, 2009
  • Law Firm: Keller and Heckman LLP - Washington Office
  • Health Canada and Environment Canada have recommended that acrylamide be added to the list of toxic substances in Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). Under the Act, Canada established a Chemical Management Program that requires Health Canada and Environment Canada to prioritize and assess thousands of chemicals that are used in Canada. This is being done, in part, through the Challenge Initiative, in which approximately 200 chemical substances identified as high priority—including acrylamide—are being reviewed and assessed on a strict schedule.

    Acrylamide was one of 19 substances assessed in Batch 5 under the Chemical Management Program. In a report on Batch 5 substances, Health Canada reported that while acrylamide is used in the manufacture of some polymers found in food packaging, the primary source of acrylamide exposure to Canadians is through food sources. To reduce Canadians' exposure to acrylamide from food sources, Health Canada announced the implementation of a three-pronged risk management approach. The approach includes encouraging the food industry to develop and implement acrylamide reduction strategies, regularly updating consumption advice, and coordinating risk with international food regulatory partners. Additionally, Health Canada is planning to assess the effectiveness of acrylamide reduction strategies through its Acrylamide Monitoring Program. The agency has had a risk management strategy to minimizing exposure to acrylamide through food in place since 2005.

    While the conclusions in the screening assessment reports are final, stakeholders are encouraged to provide comments on the recommended risk options until October 21, 2009. Health Canada explained that the information provided by stakeholders during the public comment period will help to determine the best approach to managing these substances.