Authors: Gregor JEREB, Borut POLJŠAK, Ivan ERŽEN
Corresponding author: dr. Ivan Eržen
Type of paper: Scientific review article
Issue: Volume 9 | number 1 – 2015
Abstract: Using a risk assessment approach possible health risks from different chemicals or other environmental stressors could be assessed. The method is widely used for regulatory risk assessment of chemicals. Although the method gives good results in the field of public and environmental health risk assessment, the approach has several flaws and unknowns, since disregarded real exposure scenarios could sometimes also lead to wrong assumptions. Using the risk assessment approach in the case of phosphate additives we will present weather added phosphorus in food and drinking water, presenting some concerns for human health. In recent years in developed countries, according to recent studies, intake of phosphorus and consequently phosphorus serum levels are increasing. Besides naturally present phosphates in food, predominantly pre-processed food and also processed (chemically softened) drinking water is a source of additional phosphate intake. The main reason for drinking water chemical softening is primarily prevention of the equipment; the health effect of such treatment is underestimated and neglected. Although phosphorus is an essential element, according to latest researches blood vessel calcification and hormonal de-regulation as health effect of high phosphorus concentration are reported. Any kind of increased intake of phosphorus is therefore not needed and in fact it could actually present an additional health threat. Therefore it is necessary that a holistic approach of
risk assessment is used in the context of realistic exposure scenarios of simultaneous exposure to cocktail of various pollutants, their degradation products, and inclusion of potential causal links and indirect impacts of evaluated chemicals on health. According to the presented facts health risk in the case of sodium polyphosphate as drinking water softeners is insufficiently investigated and consequently, the risk might be underestimated.