Hydrazine is an industrial chemical primarily used as a corrosion inhibitor in boiler water used at power generating plants. Hydrazine is also thought to occur naturally in algae and tobacco plants and be formed during the combustion of tobacco products. Hydrazine may be released mainly in water, and releases are primarily associated with the maintenance of nuclear and fossil fuelled power plants when boilers are flushed of their liquids. Exposure of the general population to hydrazine is expected to be low.
On January 15, 2011 the Ministers of the Environment and of Health published, in Part I of the Canada Gazette, their final decision on the screening assessment of hydrazine. It concluded that hydrazine may be entering the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity and that constitute or may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health. Based on the conclusions of the assessment, it was recommended that hydrazine be added to the list of toxic substances. The final order to add hydrazine to Schedule 1 was published October 10 2012.
Summary of risk management actions
Along with the final screening assessment, a Risk Management Approach document was published, to explain how risks associated with hydrazine would be managed.
In order to prevent or minimize releases of hydrazine to water, the proposed environmental risk management objective is to achieve the lowest level of releases of hydrazine to water that is technically and economically feasible, taking into consideration socio-economic factors. In order to work towards achieving the environmental objective, the Government of Canada planned to develop an instrument to prevent or minimize releases of hydrazine to water from facilities in Canada using boilers to produce steam or electricity where hydrazine is used as a corrosion inhibitor. Specifically, a notice requiring the preparation and implementation of pollution prevention plans with respect to thermal and nuclear power generating facilities using hydrazine was proposed.
- A Proposed Pollution Prevention Planning Notice in respect of Hydrazine Related to the Electricity Sector was published in Canada Gazette, Part I on April 18, 2015. This Proposed Notice outlines the requirements for facilities using and releasing hydrazine to prepare and implement pollution prevention plans. The requirements include: a target level for release, identifying release points, sampling and reporting. Publication of the Proposed P2 Planning Notice initiates a 60-day comment period. After consideration of the comments received, a final Notice requiring the preparation and implementation of P2 plans will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I.
A Notice of Intent to apply the Significant New Activity provisions to hydrazine was published on March 2, 2013. Since the implementation and application of the Policy on the use of SNAc provisions of CEPA 1999, published in December of 2013, it was determined that there are no likely new exposure sources of hydrazine for the general population of Canada that would reasonably be suspected to lead to increased risks to human health. Therefore, an Order amending the Domestic Substances List for hydrazine will not be published.
Environment Canada will review and revise risk management controls for hydrazine, if required, as more information becomes available.
For more information on this substance, please visit the Chemical Substances website.
CAS (Chemical Abstract Service) registry number: 302-01-2
- Final Screening Assessment Report for Hydrazine
- Federal Environmental Quality Guideline for Hydrazine
- Proposal to lower the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) reporting threshold
Risk Management Strategy
Risk Management Instrument(s)
- Proposed Pollution Prevention Planning Notice in respect of Hydrazine Related to the Electricity Sector
Substances Management Information Line
Chemicals Management Plan
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