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EFSA updates risk assessment of phthalate food contact materials

The  EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids   (CEP Panel) has updated its 2005 risk assessments of di‐butylphthalate (DBP), butyl‐benzyl‐phthalate (BBP), bis(2‐ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), di‐isononylphthalate (DINP) and di‐isodecylphthalate (DIDP), which are authorised for use in plastic food contact material (FCM).

Dietary exposure estimates were obtained by combining literature occurrence data with consumption data from the EFSA Comprehensive Database. The highest exposure was found for DINP, ranging from 0.2 to 4.3 and from 0.4 to 7.0 μg/kg body weight (bw) per day for mean and high consumers, respectively. However, there was not enough information to draw conclusions on how much migration from plastic FCM contributes to dietary exposure to phthalates.

The CEP Panel derived the same critical effects and individual tolerable daily intakes (TDIs) (mg/kg bw per day) as in 2005 for all the phthalates; i.e., reproductive effects for DBP (0.01), BBP (0.5), DEHP (0.05), and liver effects for DINP and DIDP (0.15 each). Based on a plausible common mechanism (i.e., reduction in fetal testosterone) underlying the reproductive effects of DEHP, DBP and BBP, the Panel considered it appropriate to establish a group‐TDI for these phthalates, taking DEHP as index compound as a basis for introducing relative potency factors. The Panel noted that DINP also affected fetal testosterone levels at doses around threefold higher than liver effects and therefore considered it conservative to include it within the group‐TDI which was established to be 50 μg/kg bw per day, expressed as DEHP equivalents. The aggregated dietary exposure for DBP, BBP, DEHP and DINP was estimated to be 0.9–7.2 and 1.6–11.7 μg/kg bw per day for mean and high consumers, respectively, thus contributing up to 23% of the group‐TDI in the worst‐case scenario. For DIDP, not included in the group‐TDI, dietary exposure was estimated to be always below 0.1 μg/kg bw per day and therefore far below the TDI of 150 μg/kg bw per day. This assessment covers European consumers of any age, including the most sensitive groups. Based on the limited scope of the mandate and the uncertainties identified, the Panel considered that the current assessment of the five phthalates, individually and collectively, should be on a temporary basis.

For full details on this updated study please click here >>