On September 28, 2016 the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) published the results of its study on dietary exposure of children under three years of age to chemical substances (short: infant total diet study (iTDS)). During the six-year study, ANSES analyzed 670 substances in samples from 5,484 products, in this manner covering 97% of the diet of children under three years of age. The 670 substances included chemicals migrating from food contact materials (FCMs) such as bisphenols (e.g. bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) and bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE, CAS 1675-54-3)), phthalates, ink photoinitiators, and alkylphenols. Dietary exposure was assessed for 500 compounds, and risk assessment was conducted for 400 of the 670 substances. Overall, ANSES’ iTDS demonstrated a “high level of health management” regarding selected toxicity reference values, meaning that for 90% of the assessed substances the risk is considered tolerable or acceptable. For nine substances or classes of substances ANSES identified a concern as “exposure levels of a significant number of children exceed the selected toxicity reference values.” These are: inorganic arsenic, lead, nickel, polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), T- 2 & HT-2 mycotoxins, acrylamide, deoxynivalenol (DON) and its derivatives, and furan. For seven other substances, i.e. aluminium, cobalt, strontium, methylmercury, selenium, cadmium, and genistein in soy consumers, ANSES concluded that the risk cannot be ruled out. For the total of these 16 substances or classes of substances ANSES recommends establishing management measures to limit exposure levels and highlights “the importance of better understanding the origin of the presence of these chemicals in food.” ANSES indicates that the trace metal elements of concern could originate from FCMs.
ANSES further notes that “for certain substances, additional data need to be acquired in order to rule definitively on whether or not there is a risk among certain consumers.” These include BPA and other substances migrating from FCMs. Regarding BPA, ANSES clarifies that the samples for the iTDS were collected before the French law prohibiting BPA in all food containers came into force (FPF reported). Therefore, current contamination levels may be lower than those measured in the iTDS. However, ANSES reiterates “the need to limit exposure to bisphenol A, particularly in the more vulnerable child population.”
ANSES (September 30, 2016). “ANSES scrutinises the diet of children under three years of age.”
Niamh Michail (October 5, 2016). “French call to food industry: Cut infant exposure to nine substances (now).” Confectionary News
Sara Lewis (October 10, 2016). “French agency raises alarm on baby and toddler diet.” Food Chemical News
ANSES (September 28, 2016). “Press kit – ANSES presents the results of its study on dietary exposure of children under three years of age to chemical substances.” (pdf)