A study of the toxicity of five mineral hydrocarbon waxes and oils in the F344 rat, with histological examination and tissue-specific chemical characterisation of accumulated hydrocarbon material.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2003 Apr;41(4):489-521. PMID: 12615122
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ, UK. [email protected]
Five food-grade mineral hydrocarbon (MHC) materials; a low melting point wax (LMPW), a synthetic wax (C80W) and three white oils (N15H, N70H and P70H) were administered orally to female Fischer-344 rats for 28 and 90 days at a dose level of 2% in the diet. Tissues were examined at autopsy for any treatment-related histopathological changes. The histology of target organs was the same as found in previous studies on LMPW and mineral oils and similar effects were also observed from feeding C80W. Chemical analysis showed no detectable levels of MHCs in urine and no discernible differences in the MHC profile in faeces extracts compared to diets. The presence of MHCs in most tissues was not always associated with observable histological changes. The notable observations were MHC material was detected in all tissues of rats fed with diets containing LMPW and C80W. The levels found ranged from 0.04 to 1.52% by weight for the LMPW and from 0.01 to 0.75% for the C80W. MHC material was detected in all samples of small intestine, heart and kidney for all groups. Only the livers from rats administered with LMPW and C80W were analysed, which were found to contain MHC material. Preferential accumulation of MHCs was in the alkane range approximately C(20)-C(35). The findings indicate that the size and the structure of individual components play a role both in determining their propensity to accumulate in different tissues and in the severity of any response that they elicit once they have accumulated. The implication of these findings are discussed in the context of specifications for 'food-grade' mineral hydrocarbons such as used as food additives. The data presented here suggests that the current specifications are not prescriptively adequate in controlling the amount of MHC material between C(25) and C(35) that can accumulate.