Antioxidants are used in polymer materials in order to protect them from oxidative degradation
(autoxidation) during their whole life time. Thereby, they can undergo oxidation or scavenge
radicals formed in the polymer and thus yield smaller molecules as degradation products.
Besides the intact antioxidants a polymer can thus also contain reaction or degradation products
formed during manufacturing, processing or storage.
For antioxidants used in food contact materials the requirements of the European Plastics Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 apply. Degradation products of antioxidants are classified as nonintentionally added substances – "NIAS" and, just like the intact precursor, can potentially migrate into contacting food. In addition to a formation in the polymer, degradation of antioxidants can also take place in food simulants during migration testing or in the food itself. In cases where degradation products apart from those already contained in the polymer are formed in food simulants used for migration testing, but not in the food itself, the migration of NIAS is misrepresented and there is the potential that materials or articles are discriminated as being non-compliant based on the NIAS detected in a migration test. Vice versa, there is also the potential that migration testing with simulants underestimates the real migration into food due to degradation processes during the migration contact.
Therefore the extent to which degradation products of antioxidants are already present in a polymer as potential migrants due to the manufacturing process or storage conditions and to which extent a degradation of antioxidants is induced by the applied migration test conditions using food simulants shall be investigated