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Phthalates in food items on the Belgian market: contamination routes and intake modelling

Lieve Geerts, Mirja Van Holderbeke, Tine Fierens UGent, Kelly Servaes, Isabelle Sioen UGent and Guido Vanermen (2012) i-SUP 2012 : Innovation for Sustainable Production, Book of abstracts. p.36-36
abstract
Dialkyl- and monoalkyl benzyl phthalate esters, briefly phthalates, are widely used as plasticizers. In food packaging, phthalate use is mainly restricted to adhesives, coatings and printing inks. Phthalates are not covalently bound in the products in which they are incorporated and so may leach from them during manufacture, storage, use and after disposal. Due to their widespread use, some phthalates are ubiquitous in the environment. Human exposure to phthalates occurs predominantly via dietary intake. Some phthalates are thought to be toxic to reproduction. In this study, the presence and concentration of phthalates in 600 food products available on the Belgian market were determined and the various contamination pathways were explored. In aqueous beverages such as soft drinks, fruit juices and beer, phthalate levels were mostly very low (<6μg/l). Also in confectionery, sauces, dairy products, ready-to-eat meals and baby food the concentrations were low. The highest phthalate concentrations were measured in the categories ‘oils’, ‘fish products’ and ‘spices’. A large variability was seen within these groups. During heating (e.g. rice cooking), phthalate concentrations decrease substantially, due to hydrolysis end volatilisation. The contamination routes that were explored were migration from packaging (including coating, inks, adhesives), influence of contact materials during production, and contamination via the environment. Di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP) and din-butyl phthalate (DBP) are used in inks and coatings and migration to food seems to increase in cans and paperboard packaging. Because of its high relevance for human intake, many bread samples were analysed. Results were diverse between bakeries; the production process might be an important contamination route. Overall, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is the main measured phthalate. Contamination via the environment (e.g. during growth of vegetables and pasturing of cows) seems to be the predominant route for DEHP. Measurements of migration profiles in a number of food items and concentrations in packaging materials underpin this conclusion. Environmental transfer of DEHP and DBP to food was modelled in EUSES (European System for the Evaluation of Substances). The total DEHP and DBP intake is estimated to be 2.3% and 0.14% of the tolerable daily intake (TDI), respectively. At this moment, there is no concern for intake of phthalates via food. However, taking into account that measured concentrations in bread were sometimes very high, and the higher susceptibility of children due to a lower body weight, further research is recommended to explore the contamination routes and advice policy makers.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
conference
publication status
published
subject
in
i-SUP 2012 : Innovation for Sustainable Production, Book of abstracts
pages
36 - 36
publisher
VITO
place of publication
Mol, Belgium
conference name
Innovation for Sustainable Production : i-SUP 2012
conference location
Brugge, Belgium
conference start
2012-05-06
conference end
2012-05-09
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
C3
id
2104731
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-2104731
date created
2012-05-11 09:12:35
date last changed
2012-05-11 10:01:10
@inproceedings{2104731,
  abstract     = {Dialkyl- and monoalkyl benzyl phthalate esters, briefly phthalates, are widely used as plasticizers. In food packaging, phthalate use is mainly restricted to adhesives, coatings and printing inks. Phthalates are not covalently bound in the products in which they are incorporated and so may leach from them during manufacture, storage, use and after disposal. Due to their widespread use, some phthalates are ubiquitous in the environment. Human exposure to phthalates occurs predominantly via dietary intake. Some phthalates are thought to be toxic to reproduction.
In this study, the presence and concentration of phthalates in 600 food products available on the Belgian market were determined and the various contamination pathways were explored. In aqueous beverages such as soft drinks, fruit juices and beer, phthalate levels were mostly very low ({\textlangle}6\ensuremath{\mu}g/l). Also in confectionery, sauces, dairy products, ready-to-eat meals and baby food the concentrations were low. The highest phthalate concentrations were measured in the categories {\textquoteleft}oils{\textquoteright}, {\textquoteleft}fish products{\textquoteright} and {\textquoteleft}spices{\textquoteright}. A large variability was seen within these groups. During heating (e.g. rice cooking), phthalate concentrations decrease substantially, due to hydrolysis end volatilisation.
The contamination routes that were explored were migration from packaging (including coating, inks, adhesives), influence of contact materials during production, and contamination via the environment. Di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP) and din-butyl phthalate (DBP) are used in inks and coatings and migration to food seems to increase in cans and paperboard packaging. Because of its high relevance for human intake, many bread samples were analysed. Results were diverse between bakeries; the production process might be an important contamination route.
Overall, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is the main measured phthalate. Contamination via the environment (e.g. during growth of vegetables and pasturing of cows) seems to be the predominant route for DEHP. Measurements of migration profiles in a number of food items and concentrations in packaging materials underpin this conclusion. Environmental transfer of DEHP and DBP to food was modelled in EUSES (European System for the Evaluation of Substances). The total DEHP and DBP intake is estimated to be 2.3\% and 0.14\% of the tolerable daily intake (TDI), respectively.
At this moment, there is no concern for intake of phthalates via food. However, taking into account that measured concentrations in bread were sometimes very high, and the higher susceptibility of children due to a lower body weight, further research is recommended to explore the contamination routes and advice policy makers.},
  author       = {Geerts, Lieve and Van Holderbeke, Mirja and Fierens, Tine and Servaes, Kelly and Sioen, Isabelle and Vanermen, Guido},
  booktitle    = {i-SUP 2012 : Innovation for Sustainable Production, Book of abstracts},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Brugge, Belgium},
  pages        = {36--36},
  publisher    = {VITO},
  title        = {Phthalates in food items on the Belgian market: contamination routes and intake modelling},
  year         = {2012},
}

Chicago
Geerts, Lieve, Mirja Van Holderbeke, Tine Fierens, Kelly Servaes, Isabelle Sioen, and Guido Vanermen. 2012. “Phthalates in Food Items on the Belgian Market: Contamination Routes and Intake Modelling.” In i-SUP 2012 : Innovation for Sustainable Production, Book of Abstracts, 36–36. Mol, Belgium: VITO.
APA
Geerts, L., Van Holderbeke, M., Fierens, T., Servaes, K., Sioen, I., & Vanermen, G. (2012). Phthalates in food items on the Belgian market: contamination routes and intake modelling. i-SUP 2012 : Innovation for Sustainable Production, Book of abstracts (pp. 36–36). Presented at the Innovation for Sustainable Production : i-SUP 2012, Mol, Belgium: VITO.
Vancouver
1.
Geerts L, Van Holderbeke M, Fierens T, Servaes K, Sioen I, Vanermen G. Phthalates in food items on the Belgian market: contamination routes and intake modelling. i-SUP 2012 : Innovation for Sustainable Production, Book of abstracts. Mol, Belgium: VITO; 2012. p. 36–36.
MLA
Geerts, Lieve, Mirja Van Holderbeke, Tine Fierens, et al. “Phthalates in Food Items on the Belgian Market: Contamination Routes and Intake Modelling.” i-SUP 2012 : Innovation for Sustainable Production, Book of Abstracts. Mol, Belgium: VITO, 2012. 36–36. Print.