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Strategy for Assessing Risk and Assigning Priorities to Chemicals used to Make Food Contact Materials - A Tiered Approach with Progressive Refinement to Calculate Exposure Levels


The approach uses progressively refined assumptions, calculations and, finally, actual migration, usage and food consumption data where available. The utility of the approach is tested for six substances for which some exposure information was available. The substances, chosen to cover a variety of technological roles, were: bisphenol A, benzophenone, di(2-ethylhexyl) adipate, styrene, polyethyleneglycol 2,4,7,9-tetramethyl-5-decyn-4,7-diol ether, and crotonic acid.

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There are many hundreds if not thousands of chemicals used for the manufacture of materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs. Although underway for more than two decades now, work by the Commission of the European Union acting in conjunction with Member States is still in its infancy and detailed rulemaking applies to plastics only. Decisions on other materials, including paper, coatings, ion exchange resins, rubber, silicones, metals, wood and textiles, are still pending.
Even for plastics materials, there are a number of rather crude and imprecise assumptions that are conventionally applied to move from a tolerable daily intake value to risk management using a specific migration limit or a limit on composition. Some of these assumptions are currently under review, for example the possible application of food type factors and packaging usage factors. There are other assumptions made within the Commission and the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) (and now by the European Food Safety Authority, subject to confirmation) that require similar examination. For example when moving from a specific petition to giving general approval for a substance, the assumption is made that all applications will use the maximum formulation level and that all migration to foods is equal to that determined by the petitioner under the worst-case conditions of use.
The purpose of this project is to assess the feasibility of a structured, tiered approach to estimating potential exposure to chemicals that may migrate from food contact materials.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="; target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.

Central Science Laboratory
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