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Scientists issue wake-up call to food industry over organophosphate esters

Organophosphate esters (OPEs) are chemicals used as flame retardants in furnishings and textiles, building, food packaging materials and decorating materials, aswell in a variety of other consumer products. Scientists from the University of Birmingham have completed the initial comprehensive assessment of OPEs within UK foods. The analysis tested nearly 400 food samples to consider proof OPEs.

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

Organophosphates are toxic to human health at high levels, or with longterm exposure, and their use is increasing worldwide, said lead author Muideen Gbadamosi. Although we discovered that current levels in foods aren’t dangerous, these chemicals build-up in the bodys 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.

Children and toddlers face narrower safety margin

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.

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

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

Combining their data on dietary exposure with available data on a single chemicals ingested via indoor dust in UK, the scientists 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% of the health-based limit value the guideline value for evaluating risk to health for toddlers and 88%, 30%, 22% and 14% of the health-based limit value for children respectively.

Its 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, Gbadamosi said.


Organophosphate Esters in UK Diet; Exposure and Risk Assessment

Science of THE FULL TOTAL Environment


Authors: Gbadamosi, Muideen Remilekun and Abdallah, Mohamed Abou-Elwafa and Harrad, Stuart,

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