Study of the possible migration risks of food contact materials for children under 3 years

Date: 26 May 2016

Venue: UAntwerp - Campus Drie Eiken - Building Q - promotiezaal - Universiteitsplein 1 - 2610 Antwerp (Wilrijk)

Time: 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

PhD candidate: Matthias Onghena

Principal investigator: Adrian Covaci

Co-principal investigator: Joris Van Loco - Félix Hernández Hernández

Short description: PhD defence Matthias Onghena - Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences


Bisphenol-A (BPA) has been used for many years as a monomer for polycarbonate (PC) polymers and epoxy resins from which it can be released into the food. Since BPA has endocrine disrupting properties, its use was prohibited for the production of polymers for food contact materials (FCMs) for children younger than 3 years old (EU regulation 10/2011). Consequently, alternatives to PC FCMs for infants, such as polypropylene or polyethersulphone baby bottles, have appeared on the market. Initially, these alternative materials were documented by a market survey in Belgium. 24 baby bottle types from different manufacturers were encountered here.

Next, the major organic compounds migrating from these new baby bottles were identified. After sterilisation by boiling during 10 min, 3 consecutive migrations with simulant D1 (water:EtOH (50:50) were performed at 70°C during 2h (EU 10/2011). Afterwards, the migration solutions were analysed using a liquid-liquid extraction with EtOAc:n-hexane (1:1). Various compounds, such as alkanes, phthalates, antioxidants, etc. were identified by GC-MS. Unidentified peaks were further investigated by GC-(EI)TOF-MS and GC-(APCI)QTOF-MS for structural identification. Additionally, extracts were analysed by LC-QTOF-MS to determine the less volatile migrants, such as Bisphenol-S.

Based on these results, the most toxic migrating compounds were monitored and quantified using validated GC- and LC-QqQ-MS methods. Finally, the effect of “real-life use conditions” was determined by means of duration tests such as microwave, sterilisation and dishwasher treatment and compared with a reference treatment (30 min at 40°C) and the standard EU 'repetitive use conditions'.

Analysis of the 3rd migration step of the standard EU conditions showed that several not-authorised compounds were observed in some baby bottles exceeding 10 µg kg-1. However, all authorised compounds were detected below their respective specific migration limits (SML). The duration tests generally exhibited concentrations that were low and comparable to the reference experiment. Steam sterilisation was shown to be more recommendable for daily use of baby bottles, since it resulted in a lower release of substances afterwards. Repeated use of baby bottles under 'real-life' conditions showed no increase in the migration of investigated compounds and, after some time, the migration of these compounds became even negligible.