On January 13, 2017 the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavorings and Processing Aids (CEF Panel) published a scientific opinion on the risk assessment of the additive tungsten oxide (CAS 39318-18-8) for use in food contact materials (FCMs). The draft opinion on the use of tungsten oxide in FCMs was discussed during the 18th meeting of the CEF Panel’s Working Group on FCMs (FPF reported). The additive, a mixture of tungsten oxides with tungsten at different oxidative levels, is intended for use as a reheat agent in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) at a maximum level of 75 ppm (75 mg/kg PET). Specific migration from PET plaques with the additive at 150 mg/kg (double the maximum intended use level) into 95% ethanol was at the level of 1 μg/kg (measured as tungsten using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, ICP-MS). Further, two in vitro genotoxicity studies, covering the endpoints gene mutation, chromosomal and numerical aberrations, were provided by the applicant and considered negative by the CEF Panel. Therefore, the CEF Panel concluded that tungsten oxide is safe for consumers if used as described. The CEF Panel noted that migration of tungsten should not exceed 50 μg/kg if used for other technical functions or in other polymers.

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CEF (January 13, 2017). “Safety assessment of the substance ‘Tungsten Oxide’ for use in food contact materials.EFSA Journal 15(1):4661.

Philip Lightowlers (January 18, 2017). “EFSA panel says tungsten oxide is safe for FCM plastics.Chemical Watch