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Acceptable Daily Intake

Estimate of the amount of a substance in food and/or drinking water, expressed on a body weight basis that can be ingested daily over a lifetime without appreciable health risk to the consumer on the basis of all the known facts at the time of the evaluation.

It is usually expressed in milligrams of the chemical per kilogram of body weight. ADIs are used for substances that have a reason to be found in food (as opposed to a contaminant - see TDI) and as such, include additives, pesticide residues and veterinary drugs in foods. (Source: FAO WHO (1997) )

Acute exposure

Contact with a substance that occurs once or for only a short time (up to 14 days [for humans]). (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Adrenal gland(s)

The suprarenal or adrenal glands, each perched over one of the kidneys, are double glands. The core, or medulla, manufactures adrenalin, noradrenalin and a small amount of dopamine. The outer layer of the gland is called the cortex. The adrenal cortex produces three groups of corticosteroids; mineralocorticoids (aldosterone) - control electrolyte and water balance, glucocorticoids (cortisol)- influence carbohydrate metabolism and sex steroid hormones (androgens, DHEA). (Source: EMCOM Endocrine disruptors Glossary  )

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Adverse health effect

A change in body function or cell structure that might lead to disease or health problems. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

American Cancer Society

"The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a nationwide, community- based voluntary health organization. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the ACS has state divisions and more than 3,400 local offices."

"The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community- based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service."

"The American Cancer Society's international mission concentrates on capacity building in developing cancer societies and on collaboration with other cancer-related organizations throughout the world in carrying out shared strategic directions." (Source: ACS website  )

American Council on Science and Health

"The American Council on Science and Health, Inc. (ACSH) is a consumer education consortium concerned with issues related to food, nutrition, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, lifestyle, the environment and health. ACSH is an independent, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization.

The nucleus of ACSH is a board of 350 physicians, scientists and policy advisors - experts in a wide variety of fields-who review the Council's reports and participate in ACSH seminars, press conferences, media communications and other educational activities." (Source: ACSH website )

Amino acid(s)

An amino acid molecule has the general formula NH2CHRCOOH, where "R" is any one of a number of side groups. Amino acids are building blocks (small molecules that link together to form long chains) of proteins.

There are 20 amino acids found in proteins, called primary amino acids. Non-essential amino acids are those made by the human body, while essential amino acids are only obtained from protein in the foods that we eat. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Aspartic acid

A non-essential amino acid in protein. The body produces aspartic acid to form part of a liver enzyme that builds and breaks down proteins and amino acids, and detoxifies nitrogen in urea. Aspartic acid is a neurotransmitter. (Source: GreenFacts)

Biologic intake

The process by which a substance crosses the outer boundary of an organism without passing an absorption barrier, e.g. through ingestion or inhalation. (Source: US EPA glossary )

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Cancer

Any one of a group of diseases that occur when cells in the body become abnormal and have the potential to spread and establish growth in nearby tissues and other parts of the body (malignancy). (Source: GreenFacts )

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Carcinogen

A substance, factor or situation that causes or induces cancer. (Source: GreenFacts )

Chromosome

One of the threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers. (Source: NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  )

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Chronic exposure

Contact with a substance that occurs over a long time (more than 1 year [for humans]). (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Cognitive

Having to do with the ability to think and reason. This includes the ability to concentrate, remember things, process information, learn, speak, and understand. (Source: NCI cancer.gov dictionary  )

Compound(s)

A material made up of two or more elements combined in a fixed ratio. (Source: CoRIS glossary  )

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DG Health and Consumers

"The Health and Consumers DG (formally known as Health and Consumer Protection DG) is one of 36 Directorates-General (DGs) and specialised services which make up the European Commission."

The mission statement of the Health and Consumers DG is: "to promote a better quality of life by ensuring a high level of protection of consumers' health, safety and economic interests as well as of public health"

"This overall goal is addressed through legislative and non-legislative actions in three inter-related policy areas: 1. Consumer policy (...), 2. Public Health (...), 3. Food safety, animal health, animal welfare and plant health (...)". (Source: DG Health and Consumers website  )

Diketopiperazine

5-benzyl-3, 6-dioxo-2-piperazine acetic acid. A breakdown product of aspartame at temperatures above 30ºC. (Source: GreenFacts)

DNA

DNA constitutes the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it from one generation to the next. (Source: NCI cancer.gov dictionary  )

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Dose

The amount of a substance to which a person is exposed over some time period. Dose is a measurement of exposure. Dose is often expressed as milligram (amount) per kilogram (a measure of body weight) per day (a measure of time) when people eat or drink contaminated water, food, or soil. In general, the greater the dose, the greater the likelihood of an effect. An "exposure dose" is how much of a substance is encountered in the environment. An "absorbed dose" is the amount of a substance that actually got into the body through the eyes, skin, stomach, intestines, or lungs. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Dose-response relationship

The relationship between the amount of exposure [dose] to a substance and the resulting changes in body function or health (response). (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

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Epidemiological studies

Studies on human populations, which attempt to link human health effects (e.g. cancer) to a cause (e.g. exposure to a specific chemical). (Source: GreenFacts)

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European Commission

"The European Commission (EC) embodies and upholds the general interest of the [European] Union and is the driving force in the Union's institutional system. Its four main roles are to propose legislation to Parliament and the Council, to administer and implement Community policies, to enforce Community law (jointly with the Court of Justice) and to negotiate international agreements, mainly those relating to trade and cooperation."

The Commission's staff is organised into 36 Directorates-General (DGs) and specialised services, such as the Environment DG and the Research DG. (Source: EC website  )

European Commission Scientific Committee on Food

The Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) is one of the Committees providing the European Commission with scientific advice on food safety. This Committee, composed of independent scientists, was established in November 1974, and transferred to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in May 2003.

The SCF is mandated to address "scientific and technical questions concerning consumer health and food safety associated with the consumption of food products and in particular questions relating to toxicology and hygiene in the entire food production chain, nutrition, and applications of agrifood technologies, as well as those relating to materials coming into contact with foodstuffs, such as packaging." (Source: SCF website )

European Environmental Agency

The European Environmental Agency (EEA) is one of the 15 specialised agencies of the European Union, which handle specific technical, scientific or management tasks. Operational since 1994, the EEA is based in Copenhagen.

"Its mission is to collect, prepare and disseminate timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information on the state and trends of the environment at European level. The founding regulation of EEA stipulates that it is open to countries that do not belong to the European Union but share its concern for the environment. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have been members from the start, and 12 out of 13 candidate countries have joined in 2002 (...)." (Source: EEA website )

European Food Information Council

"The European Food Information Council, EUFIC, is a non-profit organisation which provides science-based information on food and food-related topics to the media, health and nutrition professionals, educators, and opinion leaders."

"EUFIC acts as a vital link in the communication chain by channeling information gathered at the source - primarily from nutrition and food safety experts - through to the consumers.

EUFIC's mission is directly related to the increasing public demand for sound, balanced information on the nutritional quality and safety of foods.

EUFIC directs its resources towards three broad areas:

  • Safety and quality of food and food products
  • Nutrition, diet and health
  • Application of biotechnology in the food chain
Exposure

Contact of the cells of an organism with a substance, micro-organism or radiation. In the case of humans, this may involve contact with a substance or agent by swallowing, breathing, or through the skin or eyes. Exposure may be short-term [acute exposure], of intermediate duration, or long-term [chronic exposure].

Exposure can be divided into external and internal.

External exposure refers to the whole dose to which an organism is exposed.

Internal exposure refers only to that fraction of the initial chemical dose that is absorbed and distributed throughout the body via systemic circulation. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Food & Agriculture Organization

"The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information. We help developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Since our founding in 1945, we have focused special attention on developing rural areas, home to 70 percent of the world's poor and hungry people. FAO's activities comprise four main areas:

  • Putting information within reach
  • Sharing policy expertise.
  • Providing a meeting place for nations.
  • Bringing knowledge to the field. "
French Food Safety Agency

The French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA, Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments) is a public institution created in April 1999.

AFSSA's mission is to asses sanitary and nutrional risks of foods destined for human and animal consumption in France. (Source: AFSSA website )

Genes

The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein. (Source: NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  )

Genotoxic

Toxic (damaging) to DNA. Substances that are genotoxic may bind directly to DNA or act indirectly leading to DNA damage by affecting enzymes involved in DNA replication, thereby causing mutations which may or may not lead to cancer or birth defects (inheritable damage). Genotoxic substances are not necessarily carcinogenic. (Source: GreenFacts)

Gulf War Syndrome

Gulf War syndrome is a widely used term to refer to the unexplained illnesses occurring in Gulf War veterans. (Source: UMM UMM environmental medicine Glossary  )

Heterozygous for PKU

A person with one trait for PKU, that is, has inherited the trait from one parent. As a carrier for PKU, a person heterozygote for PKU is healthy and will not develop symptoms of the disorder. However, they can pass the gene on to their children. (Source: GreenFacts )

Homozygous for PKU

A person who has inherited two traits for phenylketonuria (PKU) i.e one from each parent. Roughly, 1 individual in 10,000 is homozygote for PKU. A person who is homozygous for PKU will suffer the symptoms of PKU. (Source: GreenFacts)

In vivo

Within a living organism or body. For example, some toxicity testing is done on whole animals, such as rats or mice. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Incidence

The frequency of a disease may be measured in two (standard) ways:

- Incidence is the number of new cases detected in the population at risk for the disease during a specific period.

- Prevalence (Source: Health canada Diabetes in Canada  )

Ingestion

The act of swallowing something through eating, drinking, or mouthing objects. A hazardous substance can enter the body this way. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives

"The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) is an international expert scientific committee that is administered jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It has been meeting since 1956, initially to evaluate the safety of food additives. Its work now also includes the evaluation of contaminants, naturally occurring toxicants and residues of veterinary drugs in food."

"To date, JECFA has evaluated more than 1500 food additives, approximately 40 contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants, and residues of approximately 90 veterinary drugs. The Committee has also developed principles for the safety assessment of chemicals in food that are consistent with current thinking on risk assessment and take account of recent developments in toxicology and other relevant sciences." (Source: JECFA website )

Lupus

A chronic inflammatory connective tissue disease marked by skin rashes, joint pain and swelling, inflammation of the kidneys, inflammation of the fibrous tissue surrounding the heart (i.e. the pericardium), as well as other problems. Not all affected individuals display all of these problems. (Source: Rare Cancer Alliance Cancer Dictionary  )

Mass (weight) Units

The Metric System of Measurements uses the mass units: gram (g), kilogram (kg) and tonne (t).

1000 g = 1 kg
1000 kg = 1 tonne

Adding prefixes of the International System of Units (SI) allows to express weight as multiples or fractions of 1 gram:

1 gigatonne (Gt) =1 000 000 000 000 000 g
1 megatonne (Mt) =1 000 000 000 000 g
1 tonne (t) =1 000 000 g
1 kilogram (kg) =1 000 g
1 gram (g) =1 g
1 milligram (mg) =0.001 g
1 microgram (µg) =0.000 001 g
1 nanogram (ng) =0.000 000 001 g
1 picogram (pg) =0.000 000 000 001g

Imperial and US weight units can also be expressed as metric units:

Metric units
1 US ton (ton) =0.907 tonne
1 UK ton (ton) =1.016 tonne
1 lb (pound) =453.59 g
1 oz (ounce) =28.35g

Further information on the International System of Units (SI) is provided by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) www.bipm.org/en/si/ 

Metabolism

The conversion or breakdown of a substance from one form to another by an enzyme. (Source: GreenFacts, based on ATSDR Glossary of Terms )

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Metabolite

A substance that is the product of biological changes to a chemical. (Source: US EPA Glossary  )

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Methanol

CH3OH. Methanol is the simplest alcohol and is toxic. At high concentrations, methanol can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and death. Acute exposure may cause blindness. Chronic exposure to methanol can cause liver damage. (Source: GreenFacts )

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Mortality

Death. Usually the cause (a specific disease, a condition, or an injury) is stated. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms   )

Multiple sclerosis

A disorder of the central nervous system marked by weakness, numbness, a loss of muscle coordination, and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control. Multiple sclerosis is thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system destroys myelin. Myelin is a substance that contains both protein and fat (lipid), serving as a nerve insulator and helping in the transmission of nerve signals. (Source: NCI cancer.gov dictionary   )

Mutagen

A substance or physical agent that causes mutations, i.e. permanently alters the DNA of a cell. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Mutation

Any permanent change in the DNA of a cell.

Mutations may be caused by mistakes during cell division, or they may be caused by exposure to DNA-damaging agents in the environment.

Mutations can be harmful, beneficial, or have no effect. If they occur in cells that make eggs or sperm, they can be inherited; if mutations occur in other types of cells, they are not inherited.

Certain mutations may lead to cancer or other diseases. (Source: NCI cancer.gov dictionary   )

Neurological effects

Effects to nervous system especially regarding structure, functions, and abnormalities. (Source: GreenFacts)

Neurotransmitter(s)

Chemical responsible for the transfer of information along the nervous system. (Source: IPCS )

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No Observed Adverse Effect Level

The highest tested dose of a substance that has been reported to have no harmful (adverse) health effects on people or animals. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms   )

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pH

pH is a measure of the concentration of protons (H+) in a solution and, therefore, its acidity or alkalinity. The concept was introduced by S.P.L. Sørensen in 1909. The p stands for the German "Potenz", meaning power or concentration, and the H for the hydrogen ion (H+). In layman's terms , the "pH" value is an approximate number between 0 and 14 that indicates whether a solution is acidic (pH < 7), basic (pH > 7) or neither (pH = 7) [neutral]. (Source: GreenFacts )

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Phenylalanine

Found in proteins, phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that we absorb from the protein we eat. Humans require phenylalanine for protein metabolism and children also require it for growth. Phenylalanine is converted into tyrosine in the body. Tyrosine is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters. (Source: GreenFacts)

PKU

A hereditary genetic disease involving liver enzyme deficiency. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Placebo

An inactive substance or treatment that looks the same as, and is given the same way as, an active drug or treatment being tested. The effects of the active drug or treatment are compared to the effects of the placebo. (Source: NCI cancer.gov dictionary  )

Protein

A large molecule composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order, formed according to genetic information.

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Risk

The probability that something will cause injury or harm. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Scientific Consensus

The Scientific Consensus represents the position generally agreed upon at a given time by most scientists specialized in a given field. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Soluble

A substance is soluble if it dissolves in certain fluids. The fluid [gas or liquid] (present in excess) is called the solvent and the substance dissolved in it is called the solute which together form a solution. The process of dissolving is called solvation. A solution that can not hold any more solute is said to be saturated. (Source: GreenFacts )

Synthesis

The production of a substance by either joining chemical elements, groups, and/or simpler compounds or breaking down a complex compound. (Source: GreenFacts )

Toxic

Able to poison or harm an organism. Toxic substances can cause adverse health effects. (Source: GreenFacts)

Toxicity

The capacity or property of a substance to cause adverse effects. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Tumour

An abnormal mass of tissue resulting from uncontrolled and excessive cell division.

Tumours can be either benign (localised, without the invasion of other tissues) or malignant (showing progressive invasion of other tissues). (Source: GreenFacts)

UK Committee On Toxicity

"The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) is an independent scientific committee that provides advice to the Food Standards Agency, the Department of Health and other Government Departments and Agencies on matters concerning the toxicity of chemicals."

The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals (COT) is one of the independent committees that advise the UK Government's Food Standards Agency(FSA) and other UK Government departments. (Source: COT website )

UK Food Standards Agency

"The Food Standards Agency is an independent food safety watchdog set up by an Act of Parliament in 2000 to protect the public's health and consumer interests in relation to food.

Between 2001 and 2006, the Agency's key aims are to:

  • reduce foodborne illness by 20% by improving food safety right through the food chain.
  • help people to eat more healthily.
  • promote honest and informative labelling to help consumers.
  • promote best practice within the food industry.
  • improve the enforcement of food law.
  • earn people's trust by what we do and how we do it."
US Food and Drug Administration

"The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to improve their health." (Source: US FDA website )

US Medical College of Wisconsin

"(...) the US Medical College of Wisconsin is a private, academic institution dedicated to leadership and excellence in:

Education - Teaching the physicians and scientists of tomorrow while enhancing the skills of today's health professionals.

Research - Creating new knowledge in basic and clinical science through biomedical, behavioral and health services research.

Patient care - Caring humanely and expertly for patients and providing leadership in health services.

Service - Forging local, regional, national and global partnerships in education, health care and research for the betterment of human health." (Source: US MCW website )

US National Cancer Institute

As a US federal government agency:

"The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of eight agencies that compose the Public Health Service (PHS) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The NCI, established under the National Cancer Act of 1937, is the Federal Government's principal agency for cancer research and training."

"The National Cancer Institute coordinates the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and the families of cancer patients." (Source: NCI website )

Wikipedia

Wikipedia an open-content encyclopedia in many languages. It is managed by Wikimedia Foundation Inc. which is "a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of Florida, USA".

Wikiverse  is an up-to-date high speed static mirror of Wikipedia, (Source: Wikipedia website )

World Health Organization

"The World Health Organization  (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations’ system. WHO experts produce health guidelines and standards, and help countries to address public health issues. WHO also supports and promotes health research. Through WHO, governments can jointly tackle global health problems and improve people’s well-being.

193 countries and two associate members are WHO’s membership. They meet every year at the World Health Assembly in Geneva to set policy for the Organization, approve the Organization’s budget, and every five years, to appoint the Director-General. Their work is supported by the 34-member Executive Board, which is elected by the Health Assembly. Six regional committees focus on health matters of a regional nature."

WHO's scientific publications are widely recognized as a reference source.

The WHO has a number of regional offices which address the specific issues of those regions.

WHO World Regional Offices
  WHO African Region  (46 countries)
  WHO European Region  (53 countries)
  WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region  (21 countries)
  WHO Region of the Americas  (35 countries)
  WHO South-East Asia Region  (11 countries)
  WHO Western Pacific Region  (27 countries)

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