Techniques for determining phthalates in food products aimed for infants' nutrition: an overview

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Т.S. Ulanova, Т.D. Karnazhitskaya, А.S. Zorina


Federal Scientific Center for Medical and Preventive Health Risk Management Technologies, 82 Monastyrskaya Str., Perm, 614045, Russian Federation


Phthalates (esters of phthalic acid) are widely used as plasticizers in polymer materials production and it has resulted in substantial contamination with phthalates as they occur in environmental objects, food products, drinking waters, and human biological media. Toxic effects produced by phthalates lead to functional disorders in the endocrine system and synthesis of insulin, phthalates have reproductive toxicity, they cause allergenic reactions and bronchial asthma in children as well as some other diseases. Food products are a primary source of influences exerted by phthalates on population health, first of all, children. To assess risks related to adverse effects by phthalates on children, it is necessary to obtain data on concentrations of these substances in food products aimed for children nutrition. In order to work out a highly sensitive and selective technique for determining phthalates in children nutrition, the authors performed an overview of scientific and technical literature that focused on techniques for determining phthalates in products for infant nutrition (milk mixtures, milk cereals, and canned meat). It was detected that gas and liquid chromatography together with mass spectrometry were widely applied to analyze phthalates in children nutrition; several techniques were applied for samples preparations to exert direct influence on measurements sensitivity and precision. It is still vital to determine how to efficiently extract phthalates with conventional and up-to-date extraction techniques and how to purify them from complicated food matrixes, first of all, milk and vegetable fats that can be found in products aimed for children nutrition. There is a still a problem related to secondary contamination of samples with phthalates due to their occurrence in the air inside laboratories, reagents, solvents, etc., and it needs to be solved. Basing on the analysis of all the reviewed data, we can conclude that it is necessary to work out highly sensitive, selective, and highly precise techniques for determining phthalates in products aimed for children nutrition with new methodical tools for samples preparation taking into account a matrix effect which is specific for certain products as well as risks related to secondary contamination of samples in the process of their preparation and analysis.

phthalates, food products, milk mixtures, canned meat, gas and liquid chromatography, mass-spectrometry, samples preparation
Ulanova Т.S., Karnazhitskaya Т.D., Zorina А.S. Techniques for determining phthalates in food products aimed for infants' nutrition: an overview. Health Risk Analysis, 2019, no. 1, pp. 154–163. DOI: 10.21668/health.risk/2019.1.17.eng
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