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Feasibility Study on the Use of Probabilistic Migration Modeling in Support of Exposure Assessment from Food Contact Materials

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The use of probabilistic approaches in exposure assessments of contaminants migrating from food packages is of increasing interest but the lack of concentration or migration data is often referred as a limitation. Data accounting for the variability and uncertainty that can be expected in migration, for example, due to heterogeneity in the packaging system, variation of the temperature along the distribution chain, and different time of consumption of each individual package, are required for probabilistic analysis. The objective of this work was to characterize quantitatively the uncertainty and variability in estimates of migration. A Monte Carlo simulation was applied to a typical solution of the Fick's law with given variability in the input parameters. The analysis was performed based on experimental data of a model system (migration of Irgafos 168 from polyethylene into isooctane) and illustrates how important sources of variability and uncertainty can be identified in order to refine analyses. For long migration times and controlled conditions of temperature the affinity of the migrant to the food can be the major factor determining the variability in the migration values (more than 70% of variance). In situations where both the time of consumption and temperature can vary, these factors can be responsible, respectively, for more than 60% and 20% of the variance in the migration estimates. The approach presented can be used with databases from consumption surveys to yield a true probabilistic estimate of exposure.
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Keywords: Exposure assessment; food packaging; migration; probabilistic modeling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Process and Chemical Engineering Department, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. 2: MDCTec Ltd ZN Gilching, Untere Laeng 8c, 82205 Gilching, Germany. 3: CBQF, Biotechnology College, Portuguese Catholic University, Rua Dr. António Bernardino de Almeida, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal.

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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