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Canada - Final Regulatory Action
Bis(chloromethyl)ether CAS number:
Date circular:

Chemical name: Methane, oxybis[chloro-

Final regulatory action has been taken for the category: Industrial

Final regulatory action: The chemical is Banned

Use or uses prohibited by the final regulatory action:

All uses other than those specified below are prohibited.

Use or uses that remain allowed:

For use in a laboratory for scientific research purposes or as a laboratory analytical standard.

The final regulatory action was based on a risk or hazard evaluation: Yes

Summary of the final regulatory action:

These Regulations prohibit the manufacture, use, processing, sale, offering for sale and import of certain toxic substances, such as BCME, that appear on the list of toxic substances in Schedule I to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. These Regulations do not apply in respect of the manufacture, use, processing, sale, offering for sale or import of a prohibited substance for use in a laboratory for scientific research purposes or as a laboratory analytical standard

The reasons for the final regulatory action were relevant to: Human health

Summary of known hazards and risks to human health:

Bis(chloromethyl) ether has been demonstrated to cause cancer in experimental animals and humans. BCME is therefore considered to be a non-threshold toxicant. If this non-threshold toxicant was to enter the Canadian environment (as a consequence of its commercial use), it may constitute a danger in Canada to human life and health.
In 136 workers employed at a chemical plant in California where BCME was used in the production of ion-exchange resins and in a population of 35 BCME-exposed workers employed at two dyestuff factories in Japan, the standardized mortality ratios for lung cancer were 9.3 and 21, respectively. The average age of appearance of, or death due to a lung cancer was 47 and 46 years, respectively, and the average latency period was 10 years and 13.5 years, respectively.
On the basis of available data, BCME has been classified as being Carcinogenic to Humans and is therefore considered to be toxic under CEPA.

Expected effect of the final regulatory action in relation to human health:

No effect as the substance was not used in Canada. It is simply a preventative measure.

Summary of known hazards and risks to the environment:

BCME is readily degraded by hydrolysis in aqueous media or by photo-oxidation in the atmosphere, and therefore is not likely to accumulate within living organisms. Because of its extremely short residence time, it is believed that levels in the environment are extremely low (if they exist at all), and there is no exposure that could potentially arise from the past use of this substance in Canada. Therefore, even though there is a complete absence of data concerning the environmental toxicity of these substances, there is no reason to suspect that adverse effects due to BCME could occur in organisms living in the Canadian environment.
The short persistence of BCME in the atmosphere and the extremely low levels of release preclude this substance from contributing to ozone layer depletion, global warming, or photochemical smog formation.

Date of entry into force of the final regulatory action: 26/08/1998