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Children’s Exposure to Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate and Dibutylphthalate Plasticizers from School Meals

Cirillo, Teresa, Fasano, Evelina, Castaldi, Enrica, Montuori, Paolo, Cocchieri, Renata Amodio
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2011 v.59 no.19 pp. 10532–10538
aluminum, average daily intake, cooked foods, food preparation, packaging, plasticizers, school children, school meals
Packed school meals for children 3–10 years old were studied to evaluate the levels of di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) and di-n-butylphthalate (DBP) and the influence of the packaging process on meal contamination, and their contribution to daily intake was estimated. The packaging consisted of polyethylene-coated aluminum (PE/Al) dishes thermally welded by a polyethyleneterephthalate-coated aluminum (PET/Al) foil. Foodstuffs before processing were analyzed, too. Total meals before packaging and after packaging were collected. It was found that 92% of foodstuffs employed in meal preparation contained DEHP, and 76% of them DBP, at detectable levels. In cooked foods before packaging the DEHP median concentration levels varied from 111.4 to 154.8 ng/g ww and those of DBP between 32.5 and 59.5 ng/g ww. In packed meals the DEHP median values ranged from 127.0 to 253.3 ng/g ww, and DBP median values varied from 44.1 to 80.5 ng/g ww. The mean increases of median concentrations of DEHP in cooked foods before and after packaging were 113 and 125% for DBP. For nursery and primary school children DEHP intake via school meals can raise on average the respective EFSA TDI by 18 and 12% and that of DBP by 50 and 30%.