• Risk assessment of aflatoxins in food.

      Schrenk, Dieter; Bignami, Margherita; Bodin, Laurent; Chipman, James Kevin; Del Mazo, Jesús; Grasl-Kraupp, Bettina; Hogstrand, Christer; Hoogenboom, Laurentius Ron; Leblanc, Jean-Charles; Nebbia, Carlo Stefano; et al. (2020-03-09)
      EFSA was asked to deliver a scientific opinion on the risks to public health related to the presence of aflatoxins in food. The risk assessment was confined to aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), AFB2, AFG1, AFG2 and AFM1. More than 200,000 analytical results on the occurrence of aflatoxins were used in the evaluation. Grains and grain-based products made the largest contribution to the mean chronic dietary exposure to AFB1 in all age classes, while 'liquid milk' and 'fermented milk products' were the main contributors to the AFM1 mean exposure. Aflatoxins are genotoxic and AFB1 can cause hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) in humans. The CONTAM Panel selected a benchmark dose lower confidence limit (BMDL) for a benchmark response of 10% of 0.4 μg/kg body weight (bw) per day for the incidence of HCC in male rats following AFB1 exposure to be used in a margin of exposure (MOE) approach. The calculation of a BMDL from the human data was not appropriate; instead, the cancer potencies estimated by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives in 2016 were used. For AFM1, a potency factor of 0.1 relative to AFB1 was used. For AFG1, AFB2 and AFG2, the in vivo data are not sufficient to derive potency factors and equal potency to AFB1 was assumed as in previous assessments. MOE values for AFB1 exposure ranged from 5,000 to 29 and for AFM1 from 100,000 to 508. The calculated MOEs are below 10,000 for AFB1 and also for AFM1 where some surveys, particularly for the younger age groups, have an MOE below 10,000. This raises a health concern. The estimated cancer risks in humans following exposure to AFB1 and AFM1 are in-line with the conclusion drawn from the MOEs. The conclusions also apply to the combined exposure to all five aflatoxins.
    • Systemic PFOS and PFOA exposure and disturbed lipid homeostasis in humans: what do we know and what not?

      Fragki, Styliani; Dirven, Hubert; Fletcher, Tony; Grasl-Kraupp, Bettina; Bjerve Gützkow, Kristine; Hoogenboom, Ron; Kersten, Sander; Lindeman, Birgitte; Louisse, Jochem; Peijnenburg, Ad; et al. (2021-04-15)
      Associations between per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and increased blood lipids have been repeatedly observed in humans, but a causal relation has been debated. Rodent studies show reverse effects, i.e. decreased blood cholesterol and triglycerides, occurring however at PFAS serum levels at least 100-fold higher than those in humans. This paper aims to present the main issues regarding the modulation of lipid homeostasis by the two most common PFASs, PFOS and PFOA, with emphasis on the underlying mechanisms relevant for humans. Overall, the apparent contrast between human and animal data may be an artifact of dose, with different molecular pathways coming into play upon exposure to PFASs at very low versus high levels. Altogether, the interpretation of existing rodent data on PFOS/PFOA-induced lipid perturbations with respect to the human situation is complex. From a mechanistic perspective, research on human liver cells shows that PFOS/PFOA activate the PPARα pathway, whereas studies on the involvement of other nuclear receptors, like PXR, are less conclusive. Other data indicate that suppression of the nuclear receptor HNF4α signaling pathway, as well as perturbations of bile acid metabolism and transport might be important cellular events that require further investigation. Future studies with human-relevant test systems would help to obtain more insight into the mechanistic pathways pertinent for humans. These studies shall be designed with a careful consideration of appropriate dosing and toxicokinetics, so as to enable biologically plausible quantitative extrapolations. Such research will increase the understanding of possible perturbed lipid homeostasis related to PFOS/ PFOA exposure and the potential implications for human health.