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Food Addit Contam. 1990 Mar-Apr;7(2):197-205.

Headspace analysis of benzene in food contact materials and its migration into foods from plastics cookware.

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Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Food Science Laboratory, Norwich, UK.


Concentrations of benzene of 29 and 64 mg/kg were found in two samples of thermoset polyester compounded for the manufacture of plastic cookware. In collaboration with the suppliers of the materials, it was established that the benzene originated from the use of t-butyl perbenzoate used as an initiator in the manufacture of the polymer. Samples of thermoset polyester made to the original formulations and thus contaminated with benzene showed migration levels of 1.9 and 5.6 mg/kg in olive oil after extraction for 1 hour at 175 degrees C. Migration levels into olive oil at 175 degrees C for samples produced with non-aromatic initiator were less than 0.1 mg/kg. Concentrations of benzene in thermoset polyester cookware purchased from retail outlets were 0.3 to 84.7 mg/kg. Low amounts of benzene (less than 0.01 to 0.09 mg/kg) were detected in foods when the articles were used for cooking in microwave or conventional ovens. Other plastics used for retail food packaging, such as polystyrene and PVC, which might utilise t-butyl perbenzoate catalyst, were also analysed for benzene. Levels were mostly below 0.1 mg/kg, with the highest amounts detected being from 0.2 to 1.7 mg/kg, predominantly in articles of expanded polystyrene.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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