Food contact paperboards may be a potential source of food contamination as they can release chemicals (intentionally added or not), especially recycled paperboards. This study assessed the in vitro genotoxicity of food contact paperboard samples from a manufacturer, collected at the beginning and at the end of a recycling production chain. Samples were extracted in water to mimic a wet food contact. Different genotoxic endpoints were evaluated in two human hepatic cell lines (HepG2 and HepaRG) using bioassays: γH2AX and p53 activation, primary DNA damage with the comet assay and micronucleus formation. It was found that the samples from the beginning and the end of the production chain induced, with the same potency, γH2AX and p53-ser15 activation and DNA damage with the comet assay. The micronucleus assay was negative with the paperboard extract from the beginning of the chain, whereas positive data were observed for the end paperboard extract. These results indicate that samples from recycled food contact paperboard can induce in vitro genotoxic effects in this study's experimental conditions.
Keywords: Food contact paperboard; HepG2; HepaRG; genotoxicity; recycling process; water extraction.