Human exposures to monomers resulting from consumer contact with polymers
Sommaire de l'article
Many consumer products are composed completely, or in part, of polymeric materials. Direct or indirect human contact results in potential exposures to monomers as a result of migrations of trace amounts from the polymeric matrix into foods, into the skin or other bodily surfaces. Typically, residual monomer levels in these polymers are <100 p.p.m.. and represent exposures well below those observable in traditional toxicity testing. These product applications thus require alternative methods for evaluating health risks relating to monomer exposures. A typical approach includes: (a) assessment of potential human contacts for specific polymer uses; (b) utilization of data from toxicity testing of pure monomers, e.g. cancer bioassay results; and (c) mathematical risk assessment methods. Exposure potentials are measured in one of two analytical procedures: (1) migration of monomer from polymer into a simulant solvent (e.g. alcohol, acidic water, vegetable oil) appropriate for the intended use of the product (e.g. beer cans, food jars, packaging adhesive, dairy hose): or (2) total monomer content of the polymer, providing worse-case values for migratable monomer, Application of toxicity data typically involves NOEL or benchmark values for non-cancer endpoints, or tumorigenicity potencies for monomers demonstrated to be carcinogens. Risk assessments provide exposure 'safety margin' ratios between levels that: (1) are projected to be safe according to toxicity information, and (2) are potential monomer exposures posed by the intended use of the consumer product. This paper includes an example of a health risk assessment for a chewing gum polymer for which exposures to trace levels of butadiene monomer occur.