Phthalates Stakeholder Workshop
Summary Report

March 26, 2014
Ottawa, Canada

(PDF Format - 176 KB)

Table of Contents


American Chemistry Council
Anogenital distance
Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number
CEPA 1999
Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999
Chemicals Management Plan
Cumulative risk assessment
Domestic Substances List
Environment Canada
Government of Canada
Health Canada
Multinucleated gonocytes
Mode of action
Rat Phthalate Syndrome

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Given the complex scientific considerations pertaining to the assessment of certain phthalates, and the substantial activity by multiple international organizations, the Government of Canada (GoC) hosted an interactive multi-stakeholder technical workshop on March 26th, 2014 in Ottawa, Canada. The objective of the workshop was to obtain input from invited participants on key scientific considerations pertaining to assessment of phthalates, with a focus on human health. Participants included individuals from industry, non-governmental organizations and academia. Officials from Health Canada (HC) and Environment Canada (EC) provided oral presentations of workshop materials and acted as observers and note takers. The workshop consisted of a series of presentations surrounding two main themes: a proposed approach for addressing certain human health effect data gaps; and factors involved in considering a cumulative approach to risk assessment. Presentations were followed by breakout sessions with charge questions and plenary discussion periods.

This report is a summary of stakeholder input. Inputs are presented as they were understood and are not reported verbatim. The stakeholder comments summarized below are directly related to the information presented at the workshop.

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Overview – Phthalate Substances Grouping and the Chemicals Management Plan

A presentation by officials of the GoC was provided on the principal aspects of the Phthalate Substances Grouping under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP).

Stakeholder comments/questions included:

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The Proposed Category and Read-Across Approach

A detailed presentation was provided by officials of HC on the proposed approach for use of chemical categories and read-across to address data gaps for effects of certain phthalates on the developing male reproductive system in rats. A document entitled "Proposed Approach for Using Chemical Categories and Read-Across to Address Data Gaps for Effects on the Developing Male Reproductive System" generated by HC was distributed three weeks in advance of the workshop with associated charge questions in preparation for table discussions.

Stakeholder comments/questions included:

Table Discussion #1: What do you like about the approach? Why?

Four groups were created to discuss the charge question. One reporter was selected for each table.

Stakeholder general comments were:

Table Discussion #2: Are there aspects of the approach that could be strengthened? Why? How?

Three groups were created to discuss the charge questions. One reporter per table was selected.

Question 1 - Are the proposed category boundaries appropriate as presented? Justify.

Question 2 - Are you aware of additional data for the 28 CMP phthalates that should be considered to strengthen the category boundaries?

Stakeholders suggested reviewing the composition data presented and forwarding to HC partners any corrections or additional data if available. Data on composition is generally limited, and information on the starting alcohols is key.

Question 3 - Are you aware of phthalate substances outside the 28 listed in the approach that should be considered in the analysis? Please provide supporting rationale.

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Early Thinking on Approaches for a Potential Cumulative Risk Assessment for the Human Health Assessment

The presentation was an overview of the early thinking with respect to cumulative risk assessment approaches and considerations from a human health hazard and exposure perspective, in the context of the CMP. The presentation was followed by open discussion.

Stakeholder comments/questions included:

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Next Steps And Closing Remarks

Overall, the Phthalates Stakeholder Workshop was well received. Two key observations were:

Officials of the government thanked participants, and indicated that input received throughout the workshop would strengthen the GoC’s approach and future work on phthalates.


Footnote 1

Harper Government Takes Action to Reduce Children's Exposure to Phthalates

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Footnote 2

Foster, PMD. 2005. Mode of action: Impaired fetal leydig cell function - effects on male reproductive development produced by certain phthalate esters. Critical Reviews in Toxicology 35(8‐9):713‐719.

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Footnote 3

[NAS] National Academy of Sciences. 2008. Phthalates and Cumulative Risk Assessment: The Tasks Ahead. Committee on Health Risks of Phthalates. Washington, D.C (US). The National Academies Press. Available from:

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