This case study describes an exposure assessment of two chemicals used in food packaging (Styrene and ESBO) and how the migration to the food of these, impacts children's consumption levels and overall safety.

Numerous chemicals are permitted for use in food packaging materials that have the potential to migrate into the food. In recent years there has been a need to complete safety assessments for a number of chemical migrants from food contact materials and exposure assessments have been part of these safety assessments. In this case study exposure to two food packaging migrants, one of which was a monomer, styrene, and one of which was an additive, epoxidised soybean oil (ESBO), were assessed using the Creme software.

The Creme software facilitated the use of information on food consumption, packaging probabilities and the level of the migrant in the food to be used in the exposure assessment and provided the platform on which all this data could be linked in order to perform the exposure assessment. As the Creme software permits the use of deterministic and probabilistic data, variability and uncertainty in the exposure inputs were included in the exposure assessment.

The National Children's Food Survey (Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance 2005), food packaging information from the Irish Food Packaging Database (Duffy et al. 2006) and migration data from the literature was used to estimate exposure of children aged 5-12 years.

Key finding

The results of the exposure assessment for the two food packaging migrants proved that the intakes of these migrants in Irish children are not of safety concern.

Creme was beneficial to the work on this project in that it is very efficient and it allows you to handle a larger workload more quickly. If, for example, PC based tools were used this would have increased the compute time for each assessment from minutes to hours costing the project more in both time and money.

Furthermore, the results generate with PC based tools would not have provided the level of detail of results that Creme did. This meant that using Creme facilitated ease of understanding of the results and of how the results were generated.

Creme also allows the potential to collaborate with geographically disparate groups which is a highly valuable tool for sharing work and collaborating on projects.

The results generated by this work on Creme will ultimately benefit the regulatory authorities giving them confidence in the safety of consumers to these packaging migrants and setting a framework for future migrant exposure assessments in their jurisdiction.

Dr. Edel Duffy, Trinity College Dublin