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Preplanned Studies: Exposure to Chlorinated Paraffins in the Sixth Total Diet Study China, 2016‒2019

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  • Summary

    What is already known about this topic?

    Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) are persistent organic pollutants that are toxic to organisms. Medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCPs) have similar properties. Chlorinated paraffins (CPs) may be biomagnified through the food chain, thereby threatening human health.

    What is added by this report?

    The concentrations of SCCP and MCCP in each food sample were 5–265 and 4–306 ng/g, respectively. The estimated dietary exposure to CPs was relatively lower than the threshold set in the current guidelines.

    What are the implications for public health practice?

    The production and use of SCCP and MCCP have not been prohibited in China yet. Further studies are needed to assess the health risks through dietary exposure to CPs.

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  • Funding: Supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant number 2017YFC1600500), CAMS Innovation Fund for Medical Science (CIFMS 2019-I2M-5-024) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants no. 21537001 and 21976187)
  • [1] Environment Canada, Follow-up report on a PSL1 assessment for which data were insufficient to conclude whether the substances were “Toxic” to the environment and to the human health (Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999). 2008. https://www.ec.gc.ca/lcpe-cepa/documents/substances/pc-cp/cps_followup-eng.pdf. [2021-11-28].https://www.ec.gc.ca/lcpe-cepa/documents/substances/pc-cp/cps_followup-eng.pdf
    [2] Lyu B, Li JG, Wu YN. Characterizing exposome of food contamination and China Total Diet Study: project for improving food safety risk assessment in China. China CDC Wkly 2022;4(9):157 − 60. http://dx.doi.org/10.46234/ccdcw2022.039CrossRef
    [3] Lee S, Choo G, Ekpe OD, Kim J, Oh JE. Short-chain chlorinated paraffins in various foods from Republic of Korea: levels, congener patterns, and human dietary exposure. Environ Pollut 2020;263:114520. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114520CrossRef
    [4] Krätschmer K, Schächtele A, Vetter W. Short- and medium-chain chlorinated paraffin exposure in South Germany: a total diet, meal and market basket study. Environ Pollut 2021;272:116019. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.116019CrossRef
    [5] Yuan B, Strid A, Darnerud PO, de Wit CA, Nyström J, Bergman Å. Chlorinated paraffins leaking from hand blenders can lead to significant human exposures. Environ Int 2017;109:73 − 80. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2017.09.014CrossRef
    [6] Iino F, Takasuga T, Senthilkumar K, Nakamura N, Nakanishi J. Risk assessment of short-chain chlorinated paraffins in japan based on the first market basket study and species sensitivity distributions. Environ Sci Technol 2005;39(3):859 − 66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es049221lCrossRef
    [7] Wang RH, Gao LR, Zheng MH, Tian YL, Li JG, Zhang L, et al. Short- and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins in aquatic foods from 18 Chinese provinces: occurrence, spatial distributions, and risk assessment. Sci Total Environ 2018;615:1199 − 206. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.327CrossRef
    [8] Wang RH, Gao LR, Zheng MH, Li JG, Zhang L, Wu YN, et al. Characterization of short- and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins in cereals and legumes from 19 Chinese provinces. Chemosphere 2019;226:282 − 9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.03.148CrossRef
    [9] Huang HT, Gao LR, Zheng MH, Li JG, Zhang L, Wu YN, et al. Dietary exposure to short- and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins in meat and meat products from 20 provinces of China. Environ Pollut 2018;233:439 − 45. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2017.10.022CrossRef
    [10] International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), 1996. Environmental Health Criteria 181: chlorinated paraffins. International Programme on Chemical Safety, Geneva, Switzerland. http://www.inchem.org/documents/ehc/ehc/ehc181.htm[2021-11.27].http://www.inchem.org/documents/ehc/ehc/ehc181.htm
    [11] EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM), Schrenk D, Bignami M, Bodin L, Chipman JK, del Mazo J, et al. Risk assessment of chlorinated paraffins in feed and food. EFSA J 2020;18(3):e05991. http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2020.5991CrossRef
  • TABLE 1.  Concentrations of short-chain chlorinated paraffin (SCCP) and medium-chain chlorinated paraffin (MCCP) in ng/g wet weight in the Sixth Total Diet Study — China, 2016–2019.

    Chlorinated paraffinsPLADsCerealsVegetablesPotatoesLegumesEggsDairy productsMeatsAquatic foodsTotal
    SCCPsHeilongjiang26550124422283144496
    Hebei39731516236833955502
    Shanxi12243251969899834499
    Ningxia3070288955853523415
    Guangdong41323879271177860472
    Qinghai3869403573717872476
    Shandong63403618277271142469
    Shaanxi36181428101825862399
    Sichuan47204051102538912414
    Liaoning7146445211508112367
    Beijing2918305028352522237
    Jilin2227365053188486376
    Inner Mongolia4320285154144977336
    Gansu246640438192734324
    Henan16264318614694826500
    Shanghai2113171628133940187
    Fujian2621357569348175416
    Jiangxi512141253463242216
    Jiangsu91131744652211656442
    Zhejiang2355277670439871463
    Hubei1142178361648087445
    Guangxi924196974304547317
    Hunan3819231281398036328
    Guizhou1334289380475045390
    Mean4941275656516353395
    MCCPsHeilongjiang30629123236193546515
    Hebei31708202401145172588
    Shanxi66301414517014740432
    Ningxia287222104592094837579
    Guangdong402115111311048182485
    Qinghai397040281775410058566
    Shandong99253116344374161483
    Shaanxi2914753798611461443
    Sichuan4718207847397612337
    Liaoning7227423829719717393
    Beijing2315124029423033224
    Jilin11187044653310871420
    Inner Mongolia3813175884196286377
    Gansu2580234692153233346
    Henan1416924110971115816626
    Shanghai612105235131286
    Fujian201863348135347238
    Jiangxi121041253153736179
    Jiangsu2166111287610317323
    Zhejiang131681623175730180
    Hubei1027103651239572324
    Guangxi11196344077131219
    Hunan212061230136726195
    Guizhou132083562117153273
    Mean4732184957477048368
    Abbreviations: PLADs=provincial-level administrative divisions; SCCPs=short-chain chlorinated paraffins; MCCPs=medium-chain chlorinated paraffins.
    Download: CSV

    TABLE 2.  Estimated dietary intake in ng/kg body weight per day of short-chain chlorinated paraffin (SCCP) and medium-chain chlorinated paraffin (MCCP) in food samples in the Sixth Total Diet Study — China, 2016–2019.

    Chlorinated paraffinsPLADsCerealsVegetablesPotatoesLegumesEggsDairy productsMeatsAquatic foodsTotal
    SCCPsHeilongjiang2,305254153214629192,675
    Hebei4683401514718322981,057
    Shanxi2,0092114721235921332,587
    Ningxia31517444501121261642
    Guangdong2971201535106812949723
    Qinghai46234064415608841,038
    Shandong633282214010381331131,271
    Shaanxi4368225373525334678
    Sichuan724964055241118221,132
    Liaoning694238501017358631,215
    Beijing36611228811748276684
    Jilin20416669603498915646
    Inner Mongolia4938254322585713765
    Gansu2612609128292132686
    Henan2,37728240747214222,844
    Shanghai15083103017156944417
    Fujian2611322394211911176738
    Jiangxi528671418164829270
    Jiangsu1157629582910169351,187
    Zhejiang231388161702723184561,094
    Hubei9227624882476957637
    Guangxi13613444616910872526
    Hunan3481612014301119038812
    Guizhou139220151512021843653
    Mean5652203161202492271,041
    MCCPsHeilongjiang2,662148152323433202,927
    Hebei3723268183204438111,002
    Shanxi1,0871472615174632041,663
    Ningxia29417935581251361666
    Guangdong29079649126013467696
    Qinghai474345643374611331,085
    Shandong994176183613231391291,527
    Shaanxi3516413702826654620
    Sichuan72486208411815521,089
    Liaoning7031404874195010341,141
    Beijing2909311651857329575
    Jilin10211113353411711413584
    Inner Mongolia43653333740107214695
    Gansu2723155330323161723
    Henan2,068304319446355112,630
    Shanghai4576691462313192
    Fujian2011134411477248502
    Jiangxi120722141855525311
    Jiangsu25944561639215011928
    Zhejiang1311134369910724432
    Hubei8417714382028147465
    Guangxi1641061239217048524
    Hunan19217051411416027583
    Guizhou1391304571651193473
    Mean519165234722229822918
    Abbreviations: PLADs=provincial-level administrative divisions; SCCPs=short-chain chlorinated paraffins; MCCPs=medium-chain chlorinated paraffins.
    Download: CSV

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Exposure to Chlorinated Paraffins in the Sixth Total Diet Study China, 2016‒2019

View author affiliations

Summary

What is already known about this topic?

Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) are persistent organic pollutants that are toxic to organisms. Medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCPs) have similar properties. Chlorinated paraffins (CPs) may be biomagnified through the food chain, thereby threatening human health.

What is added by this report?

The concentrations of SCCP and MCCP in each food sample were 5–265 and 4–306 ng/g, respectively. The estimated dietary exposure to CPs was relatively lower than the threshold set in the current guidelines.

What are the implications for public health practice?

The production and use of SCCP and MCCP have not been prohibited in China yet. Further studies are needed to assess the health risks through dietary exposure to CPs.

  • 1. State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 2. University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 3. Institute of Environment and Ecology, Shandong Normal University, Ji’nan, Shandong Province, China
  • 4. NHC Key Laboratory of Food Safety Risk Assessment, China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment, Beijing, China
  • Corresponding authors:

    Lirong Gao, gaolr@rcees.ac.cn

    Bing Lyu, lvbing@cfsa.net.cn

  • Funding: Supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant number 2017YFC1600500), CAMS Innovation Fund for Medical Science (CIFMS 2019-I2M-5-024) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants no. 21537001 and 21976187)
  • Online Date: March 04 2022
    Issue Date: March 04 2022
    doi: 10.46234/ccdcw2022.043
  • Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) are persistent organic pollutants listed in the Stockholm Convention. Medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCPs) structurally similar to SCCPs have similar toxicity. China is the largest producer and consumer of chlorinated paraffins (CPs) in the world. Dietary intake is considered the main route of human exposure to CPs (1).

    The China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment launched the Sixth China Total Diet Study (TDS). The dietary survey methods, sample collection, and processing methods are referenced in the Foreword in this special issue (2). The concentrations of SCCP and MCCP in each food sample in the Sixth China TDS were 5–265 ng/g wet weight and 4–306 ng/g wet weight, respectively (Table 1). Among the 8 food categories, the highest average concentrations of SCCP and MCCP were found in meats at 63 ng/g wet weight and 70 ng/g wet weight, respectively. The average SCCP and MCCP concentrations in animal-origin foods were generally higher than those in plant-origin foods. A possible reason could be that SCCPs and MCCPs are compounds with high octanol-water partition coefficients and tend to accumulate in the fatty tissues of animals. The highest total concentrations of SCCP in eight food categories were detected in the provincial-level administrative divisions (PLADs) of Hebei, Henan, and Shanxi, while those of MCCP were found in Henan, Hebei, and Ningxia. Overall, the total concentrations of SCCP and MCCP from the eight food samples in the northern PLADs were higher than those in the southern PLADs in this study. The total estimated dietary intakes (EDI) for SCCP and MCCP in eight food categories were listed in Table 2, which ranged from 270 to 2,844 ng/kg body weight per day (average: 1,041 ng/kg body weight per day) and 192 to 2,927 ng/kg body weight per day (average: 918 ng/kg body weight per day), respectively.

    Chlorinated paraffinsPLADsCerealsVegetablesPotatoesLegumesEggsDairy productsMeatsAquatic foodsTotal
    SCCPsHeilongjiang26550124422283144496
    Hebei39731516236833955502
    Shanxi12243251969899834499
    Ningxia3070288955853523415
    Guangdong41323879271177860472
    Qinghai3869403573717872476
    Shandong63403618277271142469
    Shaanxi36181428101825862399
    Sichuan47204051102538912414
    Liaoning7146445211508112367
    Beijing2918305028352522237
    Jilin2227365053188486376
    Inner Mongolia4320285154144977336
    Gansu246640438192734324
    Henan16264318614694826500
    Shanghai2113171628133940187
    Fujian2621357569348175416
    Jiangxi512141253463242216
    Jiangsu91131744652211656442
    Zhejiang2355277670439871463
    Hubei1142178361648087445
    Guangxi924196974304547317
    Hunan3819231281398036328
    Guizhou1334289380475045390
    Mean4941275656516353395
    MCCPsHeilongjiang30629123236193546515
    Hebei31708202401145172588
    Shanxi66301414517014740432
    Ningxia287222104592094837579
    Guangdong402115111311048182485
    Qinghai397040281775410058566
    Shandong99253116344374161483
    Shaanxi2914753798611461443
    Sichuan4718207847397612337
    Liaoning7227423829719717393
    Beijing2315124029423033224
    Jilin11187044653310871420
    Inner Mongolia3813175884196286377
    Gansu2580234692153233346
    Henan1416924110971115816626
    Shanghai612105235131286
    Fujian201863348135347238
    Jiangxi121041253153736179
    Jiangsu2166111287610317323
    Zhejiang131681623175730180
    Hubei1027103651239572324
    Guangxi11196344077131219
    Hunan212061230136726195
    Guizhou132083562117153273
    Mean4732184957477048368
    Abbreviations: PLADs=provincial-level administrative divisions; SCCPs=short-chain chlorinated paraffins; MCCPs=medium-chain chlorinated paraffins.

    Table 1.  Concentrations of short-chain chlorinated paraffin (SCCP) and medium-chain chlorinated paraffin (MCCP) in ng/g wet weight in the Sixth Total Diet Study — China, 2016–2019.

    Chlorinated paraffinsPLADsCerealsVegetablesPotatoesLegumesEggsDairy productsMeatsAquatic foodsTotal
    SCCPsHeilongjiang2,305254153214629192,675
    Hebei4683401514718322981,057
    Shanxi2,0092114721235921332,587
    Ningxia31517444501121261642
    Guangdong2971201535106812949723
    Qinghai46234064415608841,038
    Shandong633282214010381331131,271
    Shaanxi4368225373525334678
    Sichuan724964055241118221,132
    Liaoning694238501017358631,215
    Beijing36611228811748276684
    Jilin20416669603498915646
    Inner Mongolia4938254322585713765
    Gansu2612609128292132686
    Henan2,37728240747214222,844
    Shanghai15083103017156944417
    Fujian2611322394211911176738
    Jiangxi528671418164829270
    Jiangsu1157629582910169351,187
    Zhejiang231388161702723184561,094
    Hubei9227624882476957637
    Guangxi13613444616910872526
    Hunan3481612014301119038812
    Guizhou139220151512021843653
    Mean5652203161202492271,041
    MCCPsHeilongjiang2,662148152323433202,927
    Hebei3723268183204438111,002
    Shanxi1,0871472615174632041,663
    Ningxia29417935581251361666
    Guangdong29079649126013467696
    Qinghai474345643374611331,085
    Shandong994176183613231391291,527
    Shaanxi3516413702826654620
    Sichuan72486208411815521,089
    Liaoning7031404874195010341,141
    Beijing2909311651857329575
    Jilin10211113353411711413584
    Inner Mongolia43653333740107214695
    Gansu2723155330323161723
    Henan2,068304319446355112,630
    Shanghai4576691462313192
    Fujian2011134411477248502
    Jiangxi120722141855525311
    Jiangsu25944561639215011928
    Zhejiang1311134369910724432
    Hubei8417714382028147465
    Guangxi1641061239217048524
    Hunan19217051411416027583
    Guizhou1391304571651193473
    Mean519165234722229822918
    Abbreviations: PLADs=provincial-level administrative divisions; SCCPs=short-chain chlorinated paraffins; MCCPs=medium-chain chlorinated paraffins.

    Table 2.  Estimated dietary intake in ng/kg body weight per day of short-chain chlorinated paraffin (SCCP) and medium-chain chlorinated paraffin (MCCP) in food samples in the Sixth Total Diet Study — China, 2016–2019.

    • In this study, the average concentrations of SCCP in the eight food categories ranged from 27 ng/g in potatoes to 63 ng/g in meats. The average MCCP concentrations in the present study ranged from 18 ng/g in potatoes to 70 ng/g in meats. The average levels of SCCP from dairy products, meats, eggs, and cereals in this study were much lower than those found in the Republic of Korea, whereas the average levels of SCCP from vegetables in this study were higher than those found from vegetables in the Republic of Korea (15.1 ng/g wet weight) (3). However, the average CP levels in the eight food categories in China were considerably higher than those in southern Germany (4), Sweden (5), and Japan (6), which may be attributed to the higher production and use of CP in China. In general, dietary exposure to CPs in China was equal or higher than that of other studies in the world. A decrease in the production and use of CPs may be helpful to reduce human dietary exposure to CPs.

      In the Sixth TDS, the average concentrations of SCCP and MCCP were significantly lower than those in the Fifth Total Diet Study except the increased concentrations of MCCP in meats (7-9). The highest average concentrations of SCCP and MCCP were found in meats in the present study, while in the Fifth China TDS, the average concentrations of SCCP and MCCP in aquatic foods were the highest. The ratio of MCCP to SCCP in each food category exhibited an increase from the Fifth to the Sixth TDS. This indicated that MCCPs may have become alternative products of SCCPs since SCCPs were listed as initial persistent organic pollutants of the Stockholm Convention.

      The highest EDI values of SCCP and MCCP in the present study were much lower than the tolerable daily intake proposed by the International Programme on Chemical Safety (100 µg/kg body weight per day) (10). The European Food Safety Authority margins of exposure for total SCCP and total MCCP in eight food categories were 2×103 and 4×104 (11), respectively, which were much higher than 1,000, indicating that SCCPs and MCCPs ingested from food may not pose a significant risk to human health in China. The EDI of SCCP and MCCP in cereals was the highest among eight food categories, but cereals did not have the highest concentration of SCCP and MCCP. This could be due to the dietary habits in China, where there was higher daily consumption of cereals than meats.

      Some limitations of this study include how apparatus for the food sample collection and storage could have been contaminated by chlorinated paraffins and how the complexity of CP mixtures posed a challenge for analysts. Complete separation or purification of individual isomers or congeners was also difficult. Also, there was a lack of standard methods for analysis of chlorinated paraffins.

      The dietary exposure and health risk assessment of CP in 8 food categories of 24 PLADs were investigated in this study. Levels of SCCP and MCCP in legumes, cereals, meats, and aquatic foods exhibited a decrease from the Fifth to the Sixth China TDS, except the increased concentrations of MCCP in meats. The ratio of MCCP to SCCP in the foods investigated in this study tended to increase. The estimated dietary exposure to CPs was lower than the threshold set in the current guidelines. Further studies need to be performed to evaluate the health risks through dietary exposure to CPs and the results would be helpful for the development of chlorinated paraffin regulations.

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