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Common chemical found in food in low-risk

30 April 2009 1,192 views No Comment

The Centre for Food Safety today released results of its recent study on the levels of a flame-retardant chemical in foods of animal origin. It shows the chemical PBDE – for polybrominated diphenyl ethers – is commonly found in food, but at low levels that are unlikely to pose health risks.


The results were combined with secondary school students’ consumption data to obtain the daily dietary exposures to the chemical from individual food items.


The highest levels on weight basis were found in fish, which was also the major dietary source of secondary school students PBDEs.


The dietary exposure to the chemical from foods of animal origin for the average and high secondary school student consumers were estimated to be 0.0026 microgrammes and 0.0064 microgrammes per kilogram of body weight per day.


According to the Joint Food & Agriculture Organisation/World Health Organisation Expert Committee on Food Additives, for the more toxic PBDEs, adverse effects are unlikely to occur in animals at doses of less than approximately 100 microgrammes per kilogram of body weight per day.


The main sources of the chemical include indoor air, house dust, and food. Animal studies found they affect brain and reproductive organs, neurobehavioural development and thyroxine level, and are toxic to the liver.

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