High amounts of chlorinated paraffins in oil-based vitamin E dietary supplements on the German market.


University of Hohenheim, Institute of Food Chemistry (170b), Garbenstr. 28, D-70599 Stuttgart, Germany. Electronic address: [Email]


Chlorinated paraffins (CPs) are a group of man-made pollutants of growing environmental concern. Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) were recently classified as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), while medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCPs) are still unregulated. Foodstuff is a major pathway for the human CP intake, and the regular diet has been analyzed in several studies recently. However, dietary supplements (DS) had not been analyzed on CPs. Our goal was to investigate the occurrence of CPs in DS and to evaluate the possible threat for the consumers. DS (n = 25) made from plant or fish oils were selected on the German market with main emphasis on vitamin E products. The lipid components were removed by sulphuric acid treatment and silica gel column chromatography. CP quantification was performed via gas chromatography coupled to electron capture negative ion mass spectrometry. Six vitamin E preparations containing palm oil showed alarmingly high CP concentrations of >35 μg/g fat. Six other DS contained much lower CP amounts (<4 μg/g fat). If consumed as recommended, the mean daily intake of CPs (5.5 μg SCCPs + 38 μg MCCPs) via palm oil based DS surpassed that of the regular diet by a factor of 4 for SCCPs and 13 for MCCPs, exceeding the PCB intake via food by up to two orders of magnitude. Samples reached up to 26% of the TDI of MCCPs for an average European adult. Consequently, the P95 intake of those samples would amount to ~43 mg CPs per year. The CP contamination probably originated from raw material, as CPs were also found in palm oils and vitamin E concentrates made from palm oil. Our findings suggest that DS can contain high amounts of contaminants that compromise the purpose of the product and should be considered for regular CP monitoring.


Chlorinated paraffins,Dietary supplements,Palm oil,Polychlorinated n-alkanes,Risk assessment,