Plasticisers Contamination Analysis

Plasticisers are added substances with no color or smell which applied in some plastic materials to improve the flexibility, workability and durability.

Plasticisers Contamination Analysis in Foods

Figure 1. Food products associated with plasticisers contamination

Plasticisers have a wide range of applications for industrial uses and consumer products. Currently synthetic plasticisers such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) attract more attentions due to their good chemical and physical properties. Some of the plasticisers are also applied in food contact materials. Plasticisers are added into the plastic food packaging materials and glues for the use of food industry.

Plasticisers can enter into foods through migration from the food contact materials. There are various factors that affect the migration of plasticisers including the solubility of the food, contact time, diffusion constant and surface to volume ratio. Plasticisers are generally soluble in fat, so fatty foods such as oils and seasoning sauce may have more risk associated with plasticiser contamination. Plasticisers have also been found in some dry foods with cardboard package. Phthalates should not be used in containers or packaging materials for fatty foods or infant and young children foods. Studies on minimizing the migration of plasticisers from food packaging materials into foods are also investigated in food industry.

The impacts of plasticisers on the human health and environment have been studied in recent years. Several plasticisers have been classified by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as reproductive toxins. Some plasticisers have been found to have disruptive effects on the hormone system of humans. Large doses of exposure to phthalates have been shown to have adverse effects on the developmental system in the animal studies.

The European Commission specified the maximum migration levels for different plasticisers into foods. The limits for a range of plasticisers that have lower toxicity were set relatively higher, as 300 mg/kg. The plasticisers which have been proved to have toxicity to the reproductive system of humans have been regulated more strictly. The low migration limits were set from 0.3 mg/kg for dibutylphthalate (DBP) to 30 mg/kg for Butylbenzylphthalate (BBP). The analytical control of these contaminants below limits in foods is important.

The procedure for the analysis of plasticisers in foods includes the sample preparation and extraction, clean-ups, and detection/quantification. We control sample preparation factors and have extensive steps for sample clean-up step. We have expertise in the sample preparation of a variety types of food matrices especially the fatty foods. The sample preparation has significant effect on the accuracy of the level measured in the food samples.

We offer accurate and validated analytical methods that have been widely applied in the determination of different plasticisers including phthalates, adipates and other substances in food samples to meet customers' needs.

Liquid chromatographs coupled with tandem mass spectrometer (LC-MS/MS)

LC-MS/MS can be used for the detection of a variety of plasticisers in foods in general with good sensitivity and reliable results on time.

We also maintain high quality assurance for the analysis. The recovery of internal standard, the use of blanks and spikes is monitored for each batch of analysis.

* Not intended for personal food safety testing.

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