Extraction and Determination of Phthalates Content in Polyethylene Food Contact Materials on the Ghanaian Market

Abdul-Malik Adongo Ayamba, Markwo Ali, Derick Carboo, Frederick Justice Awuku


The use of polyethylene food packages in the food industry in Ghana as opposed to the traditional forms of packages is increasing with different designs and compositions. These materials contain compounds such as phthalates which have the tendency to leach into food during storage or processing. Phthalates are widely used in industry as plasticizers in everyday products like personal care products and food packages. These compounds, however, can be present in high concentrations in some materials.  Thus, the determination of phthalates in polyethylene food contact materials was investigated using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). Five different polyethylene food contact materials were purchased from markets within the Accra Metropolitan Assembly domain. These were soxhlet extracted and identified by a GC-MS instrument. Four phthalates at varying concentrations were detected in the five categories of the polyethylene food contact materials analysed. Benzyl Butyl phthalate (BBP) was detected in only one out of the 25 samples analysed with a concentration of 1.43mg/kg. Dibutyl phthalates (DBP) was detected in all samples analysed ranging from 3.59mg/kg to 15.45mg/kg. Diethyl phthalates (DEP) was detected in trace amounts ranging from not detected to 5.32mg/kg. Di 2-(Ethyl Hexyl) phthalates (DEHP) which is one of the common and most widely phthalates detected in food contact materials was detected in large amounts ranging from not detected to 14.30mg/kg. In conclusion, all the four phthalates under investigation were detected in the selected polyethylene food contact materials.

Keywords: Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Contact Materials, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, Leaching, Soxhlet

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3186 ISSN (Online)2225-0921

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