On October 14, 2020, the European Food Safety Authority’s scientific group of experts Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP) in discussion with EU commission re-evaluated “Assessment of the impact of the IARC Monograph Vol. 121 on the safety of the substance styrene (FCM No 193) for its use in plastic food contact materials.”
Based on the conclusion of 2018 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), both styrene and styrene-6,8-oxide (CAS 96-09-3) are “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
The scope of the document is the following, based on the comprehensive analysis:
- Styrene migration for packaged foods is usually less than 10 µg/kg and up to 230 µg/kg when in contact with fatty foods or in packaging with high surface/volume ratios.
- Estimated dietary exposure was recorded as 0.1 µg/kg body weight per day.
- IARC’sconclusion was based on inhalation studies on high-dose occupational and animal exposures and later it was ruled that it cannot be directly applied to the evaluation of risks for consumers from the oral exposure to styrene associated with food contact materials.
EFSA further recommended “a systematic review of genotoxicity and mechanistic data, comparative toxicokinetic and analysis of species differences is required for assessing the safety of styrene for its use in FCM.
The scientific opinion was adopted on September 09, 2020.