The challenge of replacing hazardous substances

What happens when a substance is suspected or found guilty of adverse effect on human health or the environment? Removing a toxic chemical from a product’s ingredients is only the first step through the bumpy road that leads to product safety improvement. When a toxic chemical is being replaced, some other substance will take its place to carry out that chemical’s industrial performance. Substitution is meant to mitigate the health concern, however, in some cases a chemical or ingredient believed to be less hazardous may later be proved unsuitable because of toxicity, bioaccumulation, or other concerns, leading to what is called a “regrettable substitution”. Let’s look at two major food-related substitution issues: the palm oil affair and Bisphenol A.



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