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EC number: 200-772-0
CAS number: 72-17-3
The natural occurrence of lactic acid in human food and the human body,
as well as the role of the compound in human metabolism and physiology
is of primary importance in the understanding of the metabolism and
toxicology of lactic acid. This means that, in risk assessment, the
natural exposure to lactic acid in food and via endogenous sources, as
well as exposure via the use of lactic acid as a food additive should be
In the present report it is concluded that lactic acid, in contrast to
previously held belief, can no longer be considered as a “dead-end”
waste product of human metabolism, but should instead be seen to play an
important role in cellular, regional, and whole body metabolism. Lactic
acid has been detected in blood, several other body fluids and tissues.
Concentrations of lactic acid increase significantly during intense
exercise. At rest, blood concentrations have been reported of 1-1.5
mMol/L (90.1-135.12 mg/L), which can increase up to 10 mMol/L (900.8
mg/L) during exercise.
External human exposure to lactic acid can occur via its natural
presence in food, for example in fruit, vegetables, sour milk products,
and fermented products such as sauerkraut, yogurt and beer. Based on the
available information on concentrations of lactic acid in some of these
products, an estimate of the daily consumption of lactic acid due to its
natural presence in food was made using the ‘FAO/WHO standard European
diet’. A (minimum) daily intake of 1.175 g/person/day was calculated
using the available information.
Another source of external exposure is its use as food additive; as such
it is authorized in Europe (E270) and the United States (generally
recognized as safe = GRAS). A daily intake of 1.65-2.76 g/person/day was
estimated using the “Per Capita times 10” method, based on the amount of
lactic acid put onto the market (EU and USA) as a food additive by Purac.
Based on the high levels of lactic acid in the human body and in human
food, and its use as food additive, the evaluation of the human health
effects of lactic acid should first and for all be based on a comparison
of this background exposure and the potential contribution of lactic
acid in biocidal products to these levels. Therefore, a risk assessment
should not be based on the comparison with effects of exposure, but on
the comparison with the total daily intake of lactic acid via food, both
naturally and as food additive, which was estimated to be 2.8
g/person/day. When the application of Purac’s products will not result
in a systemic exposure that contributes substantially to the total
systemic exposure, many of the standard human toxicological studies
dealing with systemic effects are deemed superfluous.
Information on Registered Substances comes from registration dossiers which have been assigned a registration number. The assignment of a registration number does however not guarantee that the information in the dossier is correct or that the dossier is compliant with Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (the REACH Regulation). This information has not been reviewed or verified by the Agency or any other authority. The content is subject to change without prior notice.Reproduction or further distribution of this information may be subject to copyright protection. Use of the information without obtaining the permission from the owner(s) of the respective information might violate the rights of the owner.
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