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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Migration of Nonlyphenol from Plastic Containers to Water and a Milk Surrogate

Authors
item Loyo-Rosales, Jorge - UNIV. OF MARYLAND
item Rosales-Rivera, Georgina - UNAM, MEXICO
item Lynch, Anika - NW HIGH SCHOOL, MD
item Rice, Clifford
item Torrents, Alba - UNIV. OF MARYLAND

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 29, 2003
Publication Date: April 4, 2004
Citation: Loyo-Rosales, J.E., Rosales-Rivera, G.C., Lynch, A.M., Rice, C., Torrents, A. 2004. Migration of nonlyphenol from plastic containers to water and a milk surrogate. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 52(7):2016-2020.

Interpretive Summary: Food and water containers may be a potential source of unwanted and possibly harmful chemicals. Antioxidants are often used to preserve the durability and asthetic quality of these plastic containers. A popular antioxidant is a material called TNPP which contains three units of nonylphenol per molecule of this agent. When introduced several years ago, these materials were considered inert. Since the recent discovery of their potential to be endocrine disrupters, concern over human exposure to this chemical has increased. In the present study, NP, octylphenol (OP) and their respective ethoxylates (polymers with 1 to 5 repeating ethoxy groups) were measured in spring water bottled in three different types of plastic (HDPE, PET, AND PVC). NP was present in water from HDPE and PVC containers at 180 and 300 ng/L, respectively, which could represent a significant portion of human uptake, i.e., 4.8 to 8%, assuming a 2-L of water per day consumption. OP was found in water from HDPE extracts in lower amounts, 12 ng/L, and none of the ethoxylates was detected in any of the samples. Experiments were conducted to determine if these chemicals were present in tap water. None were detected. These results suggest that environmental exposure may not be the only source of NP.

Technical Abstract: Nonylphenol (NP) is used as antioxidant and plasticizer in some plastic products. After the discovery of its endocrine-disrupting potential, concern over human exposure to this chemical has increased. An attempt was made by a group in Germany to estimate the average daily intake of NP from food, excluding water. In the present study, NP, octylphenol (OP) and their respective ethoxylates (1 to 5) were measured in spring water bottled in three different types of plastic (HDPE, PET, and PVC). NP was present in water from HDPE and PVC containers, at 180 and 300 ng/L, respectively, which represent 4.8 and 8% of the value calculated by the German group (7.5 ug/day), assuming a 2-L of water per day consumption. OP was found in water from HDPE extracts in lower amounts, 12 ng/L, and none of the ethoxylates was detected in any of the samples. Experiments were conducted to determine if these chemicals were present in tap water. None were detected. This may be because reaction with residual chlorine results in the formation of chlorinated by-products. Migration of NP from HDPE containers to milk surrogate was also evaluated; results indicate that the amounts of NP leaching into milk might be similar to that of bottled water.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014