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Researchers complete the initial UK study of synthetic chemicals within food

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The initial comprehensive assessment of common synthetic chemicals within UK foods has been completed by researchers at the University of Birmingham.

In the analysis, nearly 400 food samples were tested for proof organophosphate esters (OPEs)chemicals used as flame retardants in furnishings and textiles, building, food packaging materials and decorating materials, aswell in a variety of other consumer products.

As the levels within all of the samples were at levels below those currently deemed to become a risk to health, the researchers say this baseline survey ought to be a wake-up call to industrial users of OPEs to check on their usage of these chemicals and begin exploring alternatives. Food producers also needs to investigate supply chains to raised understand where may be introduced.

“Organophosphates are toxic to human health at high levels, or with longterm exposure, and their use is increasing worldwide,” says lead author Muideen Gbadamosi. “Although we discovered that current levels in foods aren’t dangerous, these chemicals build-up in your body’s fatty tissues as time passes and we have to have a clearer picture of the various resources of contaminants.

“We are able to also ingest OPEs from dust, or simply from the air we breathe. You can find data on these resources of contamination, however, not yet on foods, so our research fills an extremely important gap inside our knowledge.”

In the analysis, published in Science of the full total Environment, the team divided sample products into 15 food groups, which were either animal-derived products or plant-derived products and tested for eight different OPEs. They found concentrations were highest in milk and dairy food, accompanied by those in cereal and cereal products. Concentrations were lowest in chickens’ eggs.

The chemicals triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) and 2-ethylhexyl diphenyl phosphate (EHDPP) were most typical, being within all food samples except egg and egg products.

Degrees of the chemicals varied over the different samples, but overall, the concentrations in animal-derived foods were statistically indistinguishable from those in plant-derived.

The team also estimated daily dietary intakes across four age ranges: toddlers; children; seniors; and adults. Baby food contributed 39 percent of OPE intake for toddlers, while non-alcoholic beverages were the primary contributor for children (27 percent). In adults and older people, cereal products (25 percent) and fruit (22 percent) were the primary contributors.

Overall, the analysis discovered that the degrees of these contaminants in UK foods was broadly much like those reported far away.

Finally, the researchers also combined their data on dietary exposure with available data on a single chemicals ingested via indoor dust in UK. They discovered that for adults, contact with OPEs remained well below levels considered dangerous to health compared to the health-based limit values (HBLVs) for individual OPEs.

For children and toddlers, however, the safety margins were much narrower under high-end exposure scenarios for a few OPEs, specifically EHDPP, tris(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBOEP, tris(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCIPP) and tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCIPP).

For EHDPP, TBOEP, TCIPP and TDCIPP the high-end exposure data was about 56%, 52%, 37% and 10% (respectively) of the health-based limit valuethe guideline value for evaluating risk to health for toddlers, and 88%, 30%, 22% and 14% (respectively) of the health-based limit value for children.

Mr. Gbadamosi said, “It’s clear that food is really a significant way to obtain human contact with OPEs in the united kingdom and that more work is urgently had a need to grasp the risks of continuing to improve our usage of OPEs.”

More info: Organophosphate Esters in UK Diet; Exposure and Risk Assessment., Science of THE FULL TOTAL Environment (2022).

Citation: Researchers complete the initial UK study of synthetic chemicals within food (2022, September 14) retrieved 14 September 2022 from

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