Effect of Mineral Oil based Inks on health
Mineral oils are not a chemically well-defined substance, but a highly complex group of various hydrocarbons which are mainly derived from crude oil. Packaging inks are a mixture of various ingredients and some of these chemicals are able to migrate through the packaging material into the foodstuff. Mineral oil comprises two fractions known as Mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and Mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH). Both MOSH and MOAH may have a harmful effect on human health if the foodstuff is contaminated with these during the production process or through the packaging material. The most critical fraction is represented by PAH with 3-7 rings and no or little alkylation. These substances are genotoxic carcinogens, whereas some highly alkylated MOAH can act as tumour promoters but are not carcinogens themselves. Nevertheless, MOAH can accumulate in the human body and therefore migration of MOAH into food should not be detectable. In humans exposed to MOSH, microgranulomas have been observed in different organs for substances with a range between C16-C35, whereas no adverse effect was observed for MOSH between C10-C13.
While announcing the launch of the mineral oil free ink, Mr. Ashish Pradhan, President – Siegwerk India and Greater China said, “Although the extent of impact on foodstuff is undetermined by the migration of mineral oil from the packaging, research states that Mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and Mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH) chemicals are likely to be easily absorbed by different tissues in human organs. Siegwerk champions the cause of Toluene free inks in India and now, Siegwerk intends to offer mineral oil free inks, thereby raising the bar on packaging safety and offering further advancements in terms of consumer safety.
We understand the importance of safe packaging and are committed to providing safe inks for all kind of applications and hence our decision on a Mineral oil -free operation in India. Our commitment will not only further improve the end-consumer’s safety, but also environmental safety, as we will not contribute anymore to the presence of mineral oils in the recycled stream”.
The most crucial purpose of food packaging is to keep the contents and consumers safe. Worldwide several food manufacturers are promoting safer packaging options by prohibiting / restricting the use of mineral oils as an intentionally added substance in the packaging inks