Chemical contaminants and residues are undesired chemicals occurring in consumer products such as food and drugs, at the workplace and in the environment, i.e. in air, soil and water. These compounds can be detected even at very low concentrations and lead frequently to considerable concerns among consumers and in the media. Thus it is a major challenge for modern toxicology to provide transparent and versatile tools for the risk assessment of such compounds in particular with respect to human health. Well-known examples of toxic contaminants are dioxins or mercury (in the environment), mycotoxins (from infections by moulds) or acrylamide (from thermal treatment of food). The process of toxicological risk assessment of such chemicals is based on i) the knowledge of their contents in food, air, water etc., ii) the routes and extent of exposure of humans, iii) the toxicological properties of the compound, and, iv) its mode(s) of action. In this process quantitative dose-response relationships, usually in experimental animals, are of outstanding importance. For a successful risk assessment, in particular of genotoxic chemicals, several conditions and models such as the Margin of Exposure (MoE) approach or the Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC) concept exist, which will be discussed.
Authors: Cartus A, Schrenk D. ;Full Source: Food Chemistry & Toxicology. 2016 Sep 13. pii: S0278-6915(16)30327-1. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2016.09.012. [Epub ahead of print] ;