Organophosphate esters in UK diet; exposure and risk assessment

Muideen Remilekun Gbadamosi*, Mohamed Abou Elwafa Abdallah, Stuart Harrad

*Corresponding author for this work

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Food ingestion has been established as an important human exposure route to many environmental contaminants (brominated flame retardants, dioxins, organochlorine pesticides etc). However, information regarding dietary exposure to organophosphate esters (OPEs) in the UK remains limited. This study provides the first comprehensive dataset on OPEs in the UK diet by measuring concentrations of eight OPEs in 393 food samples, divided into 15 food groups, collected from Birmingham, UK. All target OPEs were measured above the limit of quantification in at least one of the food groups analysed. Concentrations were highest (mean ∑8OPEs = 18.4 ng/g wet weight (ww)) in milk and milk products, followed by those in cereal and cereal products (mean ∑8OPEs = 15.9 ng/g ww), with concentrations lowest in chickens' eggs (mean ∑8OPEs = 1.61 ng/g ww). Interestingly, concentrations in animal-derived foods (mean ∑8OPEs = 44.2 ng/g ww) were statistically indistinguishable (p˃0.05) from plant-derived foods (mean ∑8OPEs = 36.8 ng/g ww). Estimated daily dietary intakes (EDIs) of ∑8OPEs under mean and high-end exposure scenarios for the four age groups considered were: toddlers (420 and 1547 ng/kg bw/day) ˃ children (155 and 836) ˃ elderly (74.3 and 377) ˃ adults (62.3 and 278) ng/kg bw/day, respectively. Baby food contributed 39 % of ∑8OPEs exposure for toddlers, with non-alcoholic beverages contributing 27 % of exposure for children, while cereal and cereal products (25 %) and fruits (22 %) were the main contributors for adults and the elderly. The concentrations of OPEs in UK foodstuffs were generally of the same order of magnitude as those reported for other countries and our estimates of dietary exposure were well below the corresponding health-based limit values.

Original languageEnglish
Article number158368
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date15 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to appreciate the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) for the award of a scholarship to Muideen Gbadamosi (PTDF ID: PTDF/ED/PHD/GMR/1382/18).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • Dietary exposure
  • Food
  • Ingestion
  • Organophosphate esters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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