The European Commission asked EFSA to update its 2011 risk assessment on polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in food, focusing on 10 congeners: BDE‐28, ‐47, ‐49, ‐99, ‐100, ‐138, ‐153, ‐154, ‐183 and ‑209. The CONTAM Panel concluded that the neurodevelopmental effects on behaviour and reproductive/developmental effects are the critical effects in rodent studies. For four congeners (BDE‐47, ‐99, ‐153, ‐209) the Panel derived Reference Points, i.e. benchmark doses and corresponding lower 95% confidence limits (BMDLs), for endpoint‐specific benchmark responses. Since repeated exposure to PBDEs results in accumulation of these chemicals in the body, the Panel estimated the body burden at the BMDL in rodents, and the chronic intake that would lead to the same body burden in humans. For the remaining six congeners no studies were available to identify Reference Points. The Panel concluded that there is scientific basis for inclusion of all 10 congeners in a common assessment group and performed a combined risk assessment. The Panel concluded that the combined margin of exposure (MOET) approach was the most appropriate risk metric and applied a tiered approach to the risk characterisation. Over 84,000 analytical results for the 10 congeners in food were used to estimate the exposure across dietary surveys and age groups of the European population. The most important contributors to the chronic dietary Lower Bound exposure to PBDEs were meat and meat products and fish and seafood. Taking into account the uncertainties affecting the assessment, the Panel concluded that it is likely that current dietary exposure to PBDEs in the European population raises a health concern.

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