In a review article published on June 24, 2021, in the peer-reviewed journal Polymers, Lilian Seiko Kato from Cidade Universitária, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and co-authors summarize the challenges in the detection, identification, and risk assessment of non-intentionally added substances (NIAS).
The authors searched Pubmed, Scopus, and Web of Science for literature on NIAS in different plastic food packaging published until September 2020 using several pre-defined search terms. They identified 52 relevant studies which they list with the type of plastic food contact materials (FCMs) analyzed, the applied migration tests and chemical analysis techniques, as well as the names of identified NIAS. Kato et al. summarized that the NIAS assessment studies primarily performed worst-case migration for NIAS extraction from FCMs followed by targeted or non-targeted liquid or gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC/LC-MS) for compound identification. The NIAS primary identified in FCMs were degradation products, mostly from antioxidants such as Irganox 1010 (CAS 6683-19-8) and Irgafos 168 (CAS 31570-04-4), oligomers, and side reaction products. Further described NIAS included degradation/breakdown products, impurities, and contaminants.
The review also outlines challenges in the assessment of NIAS and proposes a combination of high-resolution chemical analysis and whole-migrate toxicity testing using bioassays for identifying NIAS and for characterizing their hazards. The authors highlighted that “better information transfer through the whole value chains would mainly facilitate the identification of unknown compounds.” They also identified the need to update regulations on NIAS in FCMs in general and in bioplastic FCMs in particular since bioplastics can contain NIAS just as conventional plastics do (FPF reported and here).
Kato et al. (2021). “Safety of Plastic Food Packaging: The Challenges about Non-Intentionally Added Substances (NIAS) Discovery, Identification and Risk Assessment.” Polymers (published online June 24, 2021).