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Factor 1.750: The EU recognizes fluoride errors and lowers recommendations dramatically
Efsa is ready to lower the tolerated weekly exposure by a factor of 1,750 for the substance PFOA and factor 80 for PFOS. In Denmark, you already set up the control programs.
By Hanne Kokkegård Follow @kokkegaard December 18, 2018 at. 05:03
EU Food Safety Agency [Efsa] is ready for two so-called perfluorinated substances to significantly lower the tolerated exposure .
This happens after the expert committee CONTAM Panel has reviewed more than 20,000 scientific articles.
It’s about the substances PFOS and PFOA, for example. in food packaging as well as in fish, chicken and eggs, and which are currently prohibited and on their way to being banned.
The most significant reduction is made by a factor of 1,750 – which, according to the Danish doctor and environmental medicine officer Philippe Grandjean from the SDU, is completely unheard of:
“I’ve never seen such a dramatic change. Among the most dangerous substances, the limit of vinyl chloride in the working environment was lowered by a factor of 500, but it occurred in several laps. A lowering factor of 1000 indicates that the initial assessment has been superficial and that the precautionary principle has been completely forgotten, “said Philippe Grandjean to Ingeniøren.
The two substances belong to a group of substances with the common name PFAS ( perfluororoalkylated substances ), which Efsa in 2008 set values for how much we must be exposed to.
The problem was just that the values were based on insufficient knowledge about the dangers of the substances, as Philippe Grandjean pointed out in 2012 in an article in Ingeniøren.
Illustration: Lasse Gorm Jensen
With the new values, Efsa, in terms of PFOS, reduces the maximum exposure from the current 150 ng (nanogram) per kg body weight per day to 13 ng / kg body weight per day. week – about a factor of 80 less.
And for the PFOA, the gross reduction comes by a factor of 1,750 – from a current value of 1,500 ng / kg per day to 6 ng / kg per week .
Read also: Environmental professor of fluorides: ‘Limit value’ will still be too high
At the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, you are in dialogue with the DTU Food Institute to assess EFSA’s results:
“We continue our control program so that we have an impression of where the levels lie so we are not just waiting and waiting,” says Henrik Dammand Nielsen, Head of Chemicals and Food Quality at the Food Agency, to Ingeniøren.
In the press release, Efsa writes that there are preliminary proposals for new values, because in 2019 there will be another report after reviewing the scientific knowledge of the other several thousand fluorides, for example, PFCs can be decomposed into PFOA. So the overall acceptable exposure may ultimately mean even lower values.
Read also: After dioxin study: New diet recommendations on the way
There has been a lot of discussion about whether the proposed value for the two substances is now correct and the report was completed in April, but it has been in consultation in EU countries.
Facts about toxic fluorides
The so-called per- or polyfluorinated substances (abbreviated PFC for perpolyfluorinated compound) must not be confused with fluorine in the form found in, for example, toothpaste. There are several thousand long chain molecules with a number of common features.
They are being used because the clouds are greasy and watery. In addition to packaging for food, they are available in impregnation, which protects textiles against moisture and dirt. Polyfluorinated compounds are thus found in many furniture and carpets, but also in some of the popular waterproof shell jackets, plastic paint and slip-light pans.
Polyfluorinated substances are very highly degradable. They accumulate in the environment as well as in the organism, and they are measured everywhere on earth and in all the peoples investigated for them. At SDU you have, for example, Never analyzed a blood sample that did not contain PFC.
Opposed to environmental poisons like PCB and dioxin, the accumulation is not in adipose tissue, but in the organs, mainly in the liver and kidneys.
The best known of the substances have the names PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanecarboxylate). PFOS foam was previously widely used for fire fighting, but is today banned for the vast majority of purposes in the western world. However, PFCs that can be decomposed into PFOA are still allowed.
The fluids have a long degradation time in nature, and they pile up in the organs of animals, and in humans, they expect a half-life of PFOS in five years and for PFOA in 2-4 years. Therefore, they are often called forever chemicals or eternal chemicals .
The substances may cause elevated cholesterol, lower birth weight, and contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity, and children form antibodies poorer when vaccinated.
PFOA and substances degradable to PFOA were banned by the EU in December 2016 with effect from 2020. It is (with few exceptions) prohibited from importing and selling products with PFOS and the drug is phased out globally.
However, Efsa is already preparing EU countries for regulated values to mean that many people will be exposed to levels that are far higher than that of sound health, Efsa writes in the press release.
Perhaps new consumer information relative to fish
The lower values will probably also be of importance in Denmark.
Read also: Then it’s crazy again: Lemon cake exceeds the limit value of toxic fluorides with factor 3,857
“Now, Efsa is in the process of qualifying its own report, looking at more than just the two substances and seeing the overall perspective. When we get a little wiser, we will of course look at whether we should sharpen our advice to consumers, “says Henrik Dammand Nielsen.
When the amount of fluorine to which the consumer is exposed weekly should be lowered, for example, affect the recommendations in relation to one of the sources of fluorine in the food: fish.
You already have other consumer information for pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children compared to mercury in predatory fish, and herring from the northern part of the Baltic Sea contains too much of the dioxin
dioxin to eat them.
“It (the forthcoming limit values, ed. ) Also emphasizes how selective authorities have to be in ratings of fish in relation to the recommendation in consumer information. Because they must be seen in the context of our consumer information and what we consume as consumers, “says Henrik Dammand Nielsen.
“So, therefore, we will adapt our advice and information activity to the new tolerated weekly intake. And of course our control programs also include where there can be a risk when the quantities are so far down, “he says.
Recommendations to the profession
The head of office points out that Denmark has been familiar with the problems with fluoride substances for many years. Therefore, the DTU Food Institute examines the contents of both food and packaging, and through development projects, you try to detect fluoride and predict spilling risk from the packaging to the food.
Read also: The EU prohibits toxic fluorine, but it has already been replaced by new variants
More importantly, the Food Administration has been in dialogue with the industry for several years in protecting consumers from exposure to fluorides. The business is encouraged to use alternatives to fluorides in food packaging. Like the Danish Food Agency, in dialogue with the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, the fluorine substances, which in nature are in one of the sinners of the past.
“It is important to know where the risks are greatest and where we can expect pollution in the future for these substances. And together with DTU we have examined paper and paper for fluorides, and we have found that there is a limit on when fluorine is added and when it is a natural background content in the paper. We have reported that limit to the profession, “says Henrik Dammand Nielsen.
Problems with packaging on ready-made cakes
In May 2018, the Consumer Council published a study that showed that the packaging for more finished cakes exceeded the guideline limit values for harmful and persistent fluorides several thousand times. Eg. contained the paper on a lemon cake 3.857 times more fluorides than the limit recommended.
“We most certainly see legislation regulating the use of fluorides in food packaging. It’s most effective, “said Stine Müller, Test Officer from the Consumer Council, thinking of chemistry at that time.
“Having said that, it has also become apparent through the years that many companies try to avoid the intended use of fluorides in their own products,” she added.