Update of the risk assessment of nickel in food and drinking water
The European Commission asked EFSA to update its previous Opinion on nickel in food and drinking water, taking into account new occurrence data, the updated benchmark dose (BMD) Guidance and newly available scientific information. More than 47,000 analytical results on the occurrence of nickel were used for calculating chronic and acute dietary exposure. An increased incidence of post‐implantation loss in rats was identified as the critical effect for the risk characterisation of chronic oral exposure and a BMDL10 of 1.3 mg Ni/kg body weight (bw) per day was selected as the reference point for the establishment of a tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 13 μg/kg bw. Eczematous flare‐up reactions in the skin elicited in nickel‐sensitised humans, a condition known as systemic contact dermatitis, was identified as the critical effect for the risk characterisation of acute oral exposure. A BMDL could not be derived, and therefore, the lowest‐observed‐adverse‐effect‐level of 4.3 μg Ni/kg bw was selected as the reference point. The margin of exposure (MOE) approach was applied and an MOE of 30 or higher was considered as being indicative of a low health concern. The mean lower bound (LB)/upper bound (UB) chronic dietary exposure was below or at the level of the TDI. The 95th percentile LB/UB chronic dietary exposure was below the TDI in adolescents and in all adult age groups, but generally exceeded the TDI in toddlers and in other children, as well as in infants in some surveys. This may raise a health concern in these young age groups. The MOE values for the mean UB acute dietary exposure and for the 95th percentile UB raises a health concern for nickel‐sensitised individuals. The MOE values for an acute scenario regarding consumption of a glass of water on an empty stomach do not raise a health concern.