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The Current Dietary Risk Assessment of Chemicals in Food Underestimates the Actual Risk

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Dietary risk assessments (DRA) help determine safe exposure levels of toxic substances in food. Of these, Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI), derived from No Observed Adverse Effect Levels (NOAEL) of long-term toxicity studies, is compared to exposure estimates using lifetime-averaged food intakes. These estimates ignore intermittent high exposures exceeding the ADI; toxic effects of such exposures are considered irrelevant, on the assumption that toxic potency increases with exposure duration, which would be reflected by decreasing NOAELs. However, our statistical analysis of thousands of animal toxicology studies shows that NOAELs after short- and long-term exposure are similar if study design factors are considered. Thus, the short- and long-term potency effects of chemicals are similar. Hence, a short-term toxic effect is generally ignored in current DRA. It accounts for lifetime-averaged but not intermittent high food intakes and, therefore, must be revised. Additionally, there is no added value of long-term studies for ADI derivation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2019

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  • International Journal for Chemistry and Official Membership Journal of the Swiss Chemical Society (SCS) and its Divisions

    CHIMIA, a scientific journal for chemistry in the broadest sense, is published 10 times a year and covers the interests of a wide and diverse readership. Contributions from all fields of chemistry and related areas are considered for publication in the form of Review Articles and Notes. A characteristic feature of CHIMIA are the thematic issues, each devoted to an area of great current significance.

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