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Food Chem Toxicol. 1986 Oct-Nov;24(10-11):1067-70.

Toxicology of gallates: a review and evaluation.


The propyl, octyl and dodecyl esters of gallic acid have been studied extensively in a large number of animal experiments involving oral dosing. Experimental data on general toxicity and studies on reproduction, teratogenicity and mutagenicity are also available. Most of the key toxicity studies, however, date back to the 1950s, do not meet current standards of toxicity testing and do not provide evidence for carcinogenic or mutagenic action of the gallates. Mutagenicity studies with octyl gallate and dodecyl gallate are lacking. The biokinetics of propyl gallate apparently differ from those of octyl and dodecyl gallate, the octyl and dodecyl esters being absorbed and hydrolysed to a lesser degree than the propyl ester. In toxicity studies with propyl gallate, growth retardation, anaemia, kidney and liver changes and hyperplasia of the forestomach were the most prominent effects at dose levels above 10,000 mg/kg feed. At 5000 mg/kg feed, liver enzyme induction was seen. In the available studies with octyl gallate or dodecyl gallate as the test compound, effects were found at 3000 mg/kg feed or higher levels. In studies performed with the various gallates, no effects were observed at a dose level of 1000 mg/kg feed, a level that was adopted as the no-effect level by the FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) in 1976. This committee established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for man of 0.2 mg/kg body weight (as a sum of propyl, octyl and dodecyl gallates). A re-evaluation of the toxicity of gallates indicates that a 'classic' long-term toxicity study of propyl gallate meeting current standards is required. As yet, the available toxicological evidence indicates that gallates may be used safely as antioxidants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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