Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Mineral Oil Contamination in Humans: A Health Problem?

From a quantitative standpoint, mineral oil is probably the largest contaminant of our body. That this contaminant can be tolerated without health concerns in humans has not been proven convincingly.

The current Editorial of the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology reflects on this and concludes that this proof either has to be provided or we have to take measures to reduce our exposure – from all sources, including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and the environmental contamination.

In the Ukraine recently around 100,000 tonnes of sunflower oil were contaminated with mineral oil at concentrations often above 1000 mg/kg. Much of the contaminated oil was withdrawn, but there are products on the market which were produced before this contamination was detected; and this autumn there are still several 10,000 tonnes of contaminated oil in the Ukraine and other parts of the world.

To protect consumers, a broad analytical campaign was initiated throughout Europe. The European Commission decided to apply a legal limit of 50 mg/kg to the mineral paraffins in Ukrainian sunflower oil and in September 2008 it organized a workshop together with the Official Food Control Authority of Zurich, Switzerland, to promote this campaign.

The editorial by Dr. Koni Grob from the Official Food Control Authority of the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland, titled “Does the Ukrainian sunflower oil contaminated with mineral oil wake up sleeping dogs?” discusses the situation. Dr. Koni Grob says that in many more foods more than 50 mg/kg mineral oil components from other sources will be found and the enforcement authorities will then be in difficulty to decide how to react.

Certain edible oils, but also certain other foods, like canned fish, frequently contain more than 50 mg/kg mineral oil components, some products us much as 1000 mg/kg. Although known for some time, so far no measures were taken to stop this. He continued, our lab works for the safety of the consumers. Presently there is insufficient knowledge about potential negative effects of mineral oil on human health. We are heading for data regarding the material we are exposed to and which is accumulated in our bodies, in order to provide toxicological data for an improved safety evaluation.”

It has been shown that the molecular mass of the mineral paraffins resorbed by our body is higher than assumed by the safety evaluation of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Further, probably a majority of the mineral oil products are not "white paraffin oils": they easily contain 30 % aromatic components, a substantial portion being alkylated adding to the health risk. This unerringly questions the current official safety evaluation – which, admittedly, is a difficult task because of the complexity of the material. It can only be hoped that the mineral oil contamination of the Ukrainian sunflower oil and the inconsistencies regarding the effects of mineral oil on the human body will make the responsible industry, science and authorities more aware of this smouldering problem.

This editorial is published in the November 2008 issue of European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology (Vol. 110, Issue 11, 2008).

The article is available on Wiley InterScience:

Alina Boey | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

nachricht Breakthrough in Mapping Nicotine Addiction Could Help Researchers Improve Treatment
04.10.2016 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Second research flight into zero gravity

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

How Does Friendly Fire Happen in the Pancreas?

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>