What are the overall results of Domestic Substances List (DSL) categorization?

Many industrialized countries around the world are undertaking a similar process. Most other programs, however, focus only on chemicals that are used on a very large scale. In 2006, Canada became the first country to complete the categorization of all of its existing substances.

Categorization has added a great deal to what we know. This information will be helpful in the future. Before categorization was finished, we had knowledge about a small set of chemical substances. Now, we have important information to help guide decisions for years to come. This information is now available to everyone in Canada, including those who need to assess risks and make decisions about managing and using chemical substances.

Approximately 4 000 of Canada's 23 000 existing substances have been identified during categorization by the Government of Canada as needing further attention. On the other hand, we now know through categorization that many other existing substances (roughly 19 000) did not meet the criteria for categorization.

The next step for the approximately 4000 substances requiring further attention includes screening assessment, research and, if needed, measures to control the use of a chemical substance. The Government of Canada will look very closely at these substances and, depending on the results, will move quickly to protect the environment or human health. Further work may also determine there is no concern to human health and the environment for some of these substances. However, it is important to remember that in many cases, more information is required to determine if these substances pose a risk to human health and/or the environment.


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