High-throughput migration modelling for estimating exposure to chemicals in food packaging in screening and prioritization tools

Alexi S Ernstoff, Peter Fantke, Lei Huang, Olivier Jolliet

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    Abstract

    Specialty software and simplified models are often used to estimate migration of potentially toxic chemicals from packaging into food. Current models, however, are not suitable for emerging applications in decision-support tools, e.g. in Life Cycle Assessment and risk-based screening and prioritization, which require rapid computation of accurate estimates for diverse scenarios. To fulfil this need, we develop an accurate and rapid (high-throughput) model that estimates the fraction of organic chemicals migrating from polymeric packaging materials into foods. Several hundred step-wise simulations optimised the model coefficients to cover a range of user-defined scenarios (e.g. temperature). The developed model, operationalised in a spreadsheet for future dissemination, nearly instantaneously estimates chemical migration, and has improved performance over commonly used model simplifications. When using measured diffusion coefficients the model accurately predicted (R2 = 0.9, standard error (Se) = 0.5) hundreds of empirical data points for various scenarios. Diffusion coefficient modelling, which determines the speed of chemical transfer from package to food, was a major contributor to uncertainty and dramatically decreased model performance (R2 = 0.4, Se = 1). In all, this study provides a rapid migration modelling approach to estimate exposure to chemicals in food packaging for emerging screening and prioritization approaches.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
    Volume109
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)428-438
    ISSN0278-6915
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Keywords

    • Exposure modelling
    • Food contact materials
    • Life cycle assessment
    • Low-tier
    • Product intake fraction
    • Risk

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