Assessment of hazards and risks associated with dietary exposure to mineral oil for the Belgian population

Birgit Mertens, Annelies Van Heyst, Heidi Demaegdt, Imke Boonen, Kathy Van Den Houwe, Séverine Goscinny, Marc Elskens, Els Van Hoeck

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Recently collected dietary exposure data on mineral oil saturated (MOSH) and aromatic (MOAH) hydrocarbons were used to evaluate the risks associated with exposure to mineral oil through food for the Belgian population. For MOSH, the no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) value of 19 mg kg-1 bw day-1 based on the hepatic inflammation-associated granulomas found in a 90-day oral study in F-344 rats was used as point of departure (PoD). Due to existing toxicological uncertainties, the margin of exposure (MOE) approach was applied. In all investigated scenarios, the MOE values were well above 100, indicating that there is no direct health concern related to MOSH exposure for the Belgian population. Nevertheless, more appropriate risk assessment approaches for MOSH based on adequate PoD are needed. For dietary exposure to MOAH, which are potentially genotoxic and carcinogenic, no MOE values could be calculated due to the lack of adequate dose-response carcinogenicity data. In two investigated worst-case scenarios, a health concern related to MOAH exposure could not be excluded, highlighting that more data are needed to perform an adequate risk assessment. The possibility to use in vitro bioassays to collect such additional toxicological information for MOAH present in food samples was also investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112034
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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