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Food Safety Focus (186th Issue, January 2022) – Article 4

Hexabromocyclododecanes and Food Safety

Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDD) are flame retardants primarily used in textiles, construction and packing materials. They are persistent organic pollutants and have a potential to bioaccumulate along food chains. While the acute toxicity of HBCDD is modest, the long-term toxicity of HBCDD in experimental animals mostly affects the liver and thyroid hormone homeostasis.

The Centre for Food Safety has conducted a risk assessment study which reveals that seawater fish, eggs and egg products, molluscs and freshwater fish contain relatively higher levels of HBCDD. The findings show that the current dietary exposure to HBCDD of the Hong Kong adult population does not raise a health concern. The dietary exposure to HBCDD found in this study is comparatively low when compared to studies from other countries. The general public is encouraged to maintain a well-balanced and diverse diet that includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.