News about Environment and Toxicology



Classification and Labelling Platform launched

ECHA has launched a new initiative to help companies comply with the CLP Regulation. The purpose of the Classification and Labelling Platform is to support companies in improving the quality of their classification and labelling notifications. The platform will help especially SMEs in fulfilling their legal obligations as they will have a better way of following the classifications set by larger companies.

Standardisation may affect raw material buyers
Companies buying raw materials should, however, be aware of any changes in classification from their suppliers. If raw material suppliers uniform the classification of their substances, these changes may impact on clients in their supply chain.

Discussion rooms at the C&L Platform are accessible only to those registrants and notifiers who have submitted notifications for substances. To access the C&L Platform click here. Here you will also find a user manual.

For more information on CLP and verification of classification data, please contact

Peter Kortegaard
Tel +45 4516 9049

SVHC Candidate List gathers speed

We advise companies to keep one step ahead of the Candidate List and to make sure to identify substances in your production which are or may end up on the List.

Lately, further 54 substances have been included in the Candidate List (of Substances of Very High Concern for Authorisation). The majority of the substances (44) has been identified because of their carcinogenic properties or because they can be mutagenic and/or toxic for reproduction. The remaining substances have been identified on the basis of their endocrine disrupting properties or for being very bioaccumulative. The Candidate List now totals 138 substances.

At DHI we have noticed an increased interest from companies concerning SVHC substances and adoption of a strategy for phase out of SVHC substances. Substances on the Candidate List are candidates for the Authorisation List (REACH, Annex XIV). If a substance is included in the Authorisation List/Annex XIV, the use of the substance is subject to authorisation.

On 9 April we will host a theme meeting at our Danish office about phase out of SVHC substances. Danish readers may read more about the meeting here.

For questions on SVHC substances, please contact

Jens Tørsløv
Tel +45 4516 9022

QSAR Toolbox update and QSAR workshop

An update of the OECD QSAR Toolbox is available to download. Besides improved interface and search functionalities, new features of the QSAR Toolbox 3.1 include:

  • New database for observed rat in vivo metabolism
  • Updated auto oxidation, rat liver metabolism, skin metabolism and microbial metabolism simulators
  • Updated DNA binding profiler

    To download the QSAR Toolbox click here.

    QSAR is used to assess the (eco)toxicity hazards of chemicals to be registered under REACH. This helps to reduce costs and the use of vertebrate animals.

    QSAR workshop at DHI on 11 April
    If you’re not familiar with the QSAR Toolbox then join our workshop on 11 April. The workshop aims to give you an overview of the Toolbox and how it can be used for estimating missing data. During the workshop we will guide you through the basic steps of the Toolbox. After the workshop you will understand how the Toolbox can be used for data gap filling, e.g. for REACH registrations.

    For more information on the QSAR workshop, read here

    You are also welcome to contact the workshop leader

    Hülya Genc-Fuhrman
    Tel +45 4516 9256
  • FOOD

    Nanomaterials in food packaging

    Nanomaterials can be used in several ways to improve the properties of food packaging materials for the benefit of consumers, food industry, and the environment. However, nanomaterials are also a cause for concern as regards consumer safety and the quality of food contact materials.

    Increases shelf life
    Nanomaterials can be used in several ways to improve material properties. Nanoclays for example can be incorporated to improve packaging barrier properties. Research and development also focus on nanosilver for improving anti-microbial properties of polymers, thereby increasing the shelf life of a packaged food.

    Other applications such as time, temperature and ripeness indicators are developed based on nanotechnology. Some of these new applications, however, give rise to possible health concerns. For instance it has been indicated that detergents used in the modification of nanoclay can migrate from the polymer, treated with nanoclay, and into the food.

    The challenges of migration
    Other issues are potential migration from packaging materials into food, risk assessment of complex mixtures, and the development of screening methods to better assess the safety of packaging. Packaging materials can contain very low levels of Non-Intentionally Added Substances (NIAS), e.g. substances migrating from printing inks. Because of the complex mixture and often unknown presence of these substances, they represent a challenge with regard to migration.

    The above is a brief summary of the 5th International Symposium on Food Packaging, in which DHI participated. The symposium took place in late 2012 in Berlin, Germany. The main focus was the latest scientific advances and innovations in food packaging. Presentations from the symposium can be viewed here and posters here.

    For more information on nano and food packing materials, please contact

    Frank Leck Fotel
    Tel +45 4516 9371

    Evaluation of food enzymes in the EU

    EFSA is stepping up the risk assessment of all enzymes used to manufacture, process or prepare foods in the EU. All food enzymes that producers want to market in the EU must be evaluated by EFSA. Consequently, producers are encouraged to submit technical dossiers for evaluation by EFSA.

    EFSA has published Guidance on the Submission of a Dossier on Food Enzymes for Safety Evaluation. Originally the deadline was in 2013, but it has been postponed to 11 March 2015.

    DHI has prepared various types of dossiers for EFSA. If you require assistance with dossiers for enzymes or other food additives, please contact

    Eva Engelund
    Tel +45 4516 9096

    Stephen Wessels
    Tel +45 4516 9162

    Food-borne pathogens – new challenges

    Food-borne disease regularly makes headlines. With the growth in global food trade, new challenges must be met by the food industry.

    The good news is that infections caused by the bacterium Salmonella can be decreased significantly through a targeted effort. Over a five-year-period the outbreak of salmonella infections in Denmark and Germany has been almost cut to a third and a half, respectively. However, the bad news is that viruses, new and existing, will probably play a much more dominant role in the future in food-borne infections. In Germany, norovirus, rotavirus, and hepatitis E virus already play an important role in food-borne disease. This is due to the constant growth in global food trade.

    Pathogens spread via plant-based food
    There is still a lack of important insights into the transmission paths, tenacity and inactivation of many viruses. Although progress is being made in the development of diagnostic methods for detecting these pathogens, new challenges continue to arise. For example, viruses are very adept at changing their properties and establishing themselves in new habitats such as in plants. In recent outbreaks viruses have spread via plant-based foods. In light of all these new developments, food industries and consumers have to exercise an even greater focus on hygiene.

    The above was reported by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) following a recent meeting of more than 200 scientists. For a more thorough account of this meeting, read here (English) or here (German).

    Stephen Wessels
    Tel +45 4516 9162

    Metals in baby food

    Despite being within the allowed limits, it is alarming that products intended for use by infants and young children contain amounts of contaminants that may potentially result in adverse health effects.

    This is the conclusion of an assessment carried out by the National Food Agency in Sweden. The Agency has analysed 6 minerals/metals in 100 different food products for infants and young children. Based on the assessment the Agency recommends producers to reduce concentrations of contaminants such as arsenic and lead in foods intended for infants and young children. Furthermore, it was concluded that health-based guidance values for children’s cadmium exposure and for low and high intakes of essential minerals need to be updated to ensure adequacy and safety of foods for infants and young children.

  • Arsenic: The highest concentrations (0.04 mg/kg) were found in rice-based products.
  • Cadmium: Processed cereal-based foods (PCBF) contained the largest amounts (up to 0.01 mg/kg).
  • Lead: The highest concentrations (up to 0.02 mg/kg) were found in foods for special medical purposes (FSMP, ie products intended for children with allergy or inborn errors of metabolism).
  • Minerals: The highest average concentrations were found in FSMP for young children. For copper the concentration was close to 160 μg/100 g, which is three times higher than in the other product categories. The average concentration of manganese was close to 250 μg/100 g in FSMP for young children as well as in porridge. Regarding iron, the average concentration was around 1 mg/100 g for most of the product categories.

    For more details on the assessment of contaminants and minerals in foods for infants and young children, view the Swedish National Food Agency’s analytical results here and the risk and benefit assessment here.

    For more information on methods to reduce the content of contaminants in various foodstuffs, please contact

    Ann Detmer
    Tel +45 4516 9162

  • Life Science

    Nonylphenols in textiles acquitted

    There is no reason to avoid clothes or textiles containing nonylphenols (NP) or nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE). This is the overall conclusion in a report made by DHI in collaboration with the Danish EPA.

    In the report textiles imported from countries outside of the EU were subjected to scrutiny. Concentrations of NP and NPE were compared to effects from animal testing. Based on the amount of NP or NPE that may migrate from the clothes via the skin and into the body, NP and NPE do not pose a risk to human health.

    Laundering recommended
    Nevertheless, the Danish EPA recommends laundering of all new clothes. After just one wash the amount of NP/NPE has been reduced on average by two thirds, for some textiles even as much as 99%.

    The use of NP and NPE is regulated by REACH. The regulation lays down limitations of use of NP and NPE in textile production, but there is no regulation of the amounts allowed in imported textiles. However, a proposal for limitations of NP in imported textiles is in the pipeline.

    The report is in Danish, however, contains a 4-page summary and conclusion (page 11-15). To view the report, click here.

    For more information, please contact

    Dorte Rasmussen
    Tel +45 4516 9316

    Cadmium increases risk of osteoporosis

    The Scandinavian countries, and in particular Sweden, have one of the highest risks of bone fractures. Statistically, there is a significant correlation between cadmium intake from food and the risk of suffering a fracture.

    Cadmium and osteoporosis - a costly combination
    In a report published by the Swedish EPA (KEMI) it has been calculated that Swedish societal costs for fractures and osteoporosis that can be linked to cadmium intake via food is 4 billion SEK per year. The sad part of the story is that if you eat a healthy diet based on wholemeal grain products and vegetables, you increase your body burden of cadmium (Cd). In these food items you find the highest values of Cd.

    Slow progress in cadmium reduction
    Much of the Cd burden originates from fertilisers. Much has been done to reduce the content of Cd in phosphate fertilisers but still more can be done. Other sources of Cd are fall out from industries and smoking as well as the natural content of Cd in the soil.

    In 2009 the European food safety authority EFSA re-evaluated Cd and set a new tolerable weekly intake of 2.5µg Cd/kg bw based on kidney effects. This should not give Cd levels in urine of above 1 μg Cd/g kreatinin. However, since then new data has been published indicating that also for urine levels below 1 μg Cd/g kreatinin there is an increased risk for osteoporosis and fractures.

    Scandinavian intakes
    Data from females in Sweden indicate that women with high Cd intake (15µg/day) have an OD (odds ratio) of 1.31 for a first fracture compared to women with a low Cd intake (11µg/day). The increased risk of bone fractures also apply to men (OD 1.19 for high Cd intake men (22µg/day) compared to low Cd intake men (15µg/day)). The Danish intake is a little bit lower than the Swedish. This can probably be attributed to the generally higher pH in Danish lime soils reducing the uptake of Cd from soil to plant. Although the intake has been slowly reduced since measurements of Cd started in 1983, it is essential to reduce the intake further, especially for children.

    The Swedish report is only available in Swedish, and can be read here.

    Food producers with interest in lowering the amount of cadmium in their food are welcome to contact

    Ann Detmer

    Danish approval system for drinking water products

    On 1 April 2013 a new scheme for approval of products in contact with drinking water will become effective in Denmark. The previous scheme, also known as VA approval, will be replaced by the GDV approval (Godkendt til DrikkeVand/approved for drinking water) for construction products that come into contact with drinking water. The new scheme will be named Approval scheme for construction products approved for use with drinking water. The approval covers the health related properties of drinking water installations, but not their mechanical or physical properties.

    Release of some substances tightened
    The basic principle that substances, which may be problematic with regard to human health, must not migrate from the installation to the drinking water is still sustained. However, the requirements have been tightened including more strict requirements on a number of substances. One such example is arsenic. After 1 April the threshold limit value of arsenic in drinking water is half the present value.

    Furthermore, products used for coating of water pipes, will be included in the GDV approval. Until now coating products have not been able to obtain formal approval. Consequently, several manufacturers/importers had a statement prepared by DHI to demonstrate that their product were suitable for contact with drinking water.

    Compulsory labelling from 1 April 2014
    Drinking water products, which have been approved under the previous scheme, are still valid until their current approval expires. However, as of 1 April 2014 all products must carry the new approval label.

    For more information on the approval scheme and assessment of products, please contact

    Lise Møller
    Tel +45 4516 9133

    Friendly microorganisms meet tough laws

    DHI microbiologist Stephen Wessels has authored a major chapter in a new book on the subject: Beneficial Microorganisms in Agriculture, Food and the Environment. Here, Wessels shows how two very different historical tendencies in the USA and in the European Union have resulted in two very different ways of governing microorganisms to be added to food and feed.

    Industry vs regulation
    In the USA system, the food and feed industries may use whatever microorganisms they please and whenever they please. They just have to be prepared to document safety if so required by the FDA, the federal food and feed authority. In the EU, microorganisms to be added to feed are subject to a tough, full-blown pre-market approval before being sold to animal feed producers. Not only safety but also efficacy (i.e., benefit) must be documented. For human food microorganisms, an EU system of safety evaluation is still evolving but may well end up resembling what is required for feed microorganisms.

    The book is available at the CABI on-line bookstore

    For more information, contact
    Stephen Wessels
    Tel +45 4516 9162

    Wessels. Stephen. (2012). Safety and regulation of microorganisms added to the food and feed chains, including probiotics - introduction and overview. In I.Sundh, A. Wilcks, & M. S. Goettel (Eds.), Beneficial Microorganisms in Agriculture, Food and the Environment (Chap. 2, pp. 12-26). Wallingford, UK: CAB International.


    Course catalogues 2013

    Courses and seminars in Denmark
    Browse all our courses and seminars (in Danish and English) here.

    QSAR workshop, Introduction to the OECD Toolbox - 11 April

    Courses Asia-Pacific region
    Read more about our many courses in the Asia-Pacific region here.

    Meet Us

    SEPAWA Nordic Conference, Malmö, Sweden
    Michael Fink participates in SEPAWA Nordic’s Annual Conference on 6 and 7 May. Michael will give a presentation of the impact of the Biocidal Products Regulation on the disinfectant industry.

    SETAC Europe, Glasgow, UK
    Margrethe Winther-Nielsen and Morten Bjergstrøm will participate in the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry on 12-16 May. DHI has submitted two posters for the Annual Meeting.

    inSPIRe Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark
    DHI participates in InSPIRe’s conference on 22 and 23 May. DHI is partner in InSPIRe, a Public-Private platform for innovation and research and aims to improve the productivity and global competitiveness of the Danish food sector.

    The XIII International Congress of Toxicology 2013, Seoul, South Korea
    Helle Buchardt Boyd will be participating in the ICT 2013 which will be held in Seoul, South Korea on 30 June 30 ~ 4 July.


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