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N-Nitrosomorpholine in Snow Sprays

According to tests conducted by Greenpeace, N-nitrosomorpholine was detected in five different snow sprays in concentrations of up to 990 milligrams per kilogram.

On the basis of animal tests conducted on various species, N-nitrosomorpholine was classified as a Category 2B carcinogen (Possibly carcinogenic to humans) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as long ago as 1978. It belongs to the substance class of N-nitrosamines which damage the DNA, thus causing cancer. According to the current knowledge, N-nitrosamines are among the most potent carcinogens and mutagens. For genotoxic carcinogens no safe toxicological threshold value can be derived. Therefore, for the protection of the consumer, the exposure to N-nitrosamines must be minimised to the extent possible.

N-nitrosamines are not used deliberately, but they can occur as undesired reaction or decomposition products. Where consumer products are concerned, N-nitrosamines have been detected in cosmetic agents and rubber products. It is known that various N?nitrosamines can occur through the decomposition of several vulcanisation accelerators during the manufacture of balloons, teats and other rubber products. To reduce the exposure of children to the greatest possible extent, strict limit values have existed for many years for teats, balloons and other toys. The BfR has published a comprehensive assessment of this on its homepage. Strict legal limit values also apply to the occurrence of traces of N-nitrosamines in cosmetic agents. The reported concentrations of traces in cosmetic agents cannot usually be detected by analytical means. The concentrations are less than 0.01 milligrams of N-nitrosamines per kilogram of cosmetic agent.

According to Greenpeace, concentrations of up to 990 milligrams of N-nitrosomorpholine per kilogram were measured in several snow sprays. The values reported by Greenpeace are extraordinarily high and are not acceptable from the point of view of consumer health protection. It is possible that children could lick off and swallow the fresh snow foam. The inhalative or dermal exposure of consumers is also possible.

The Greenpeace data also show that no N-nitrosomorpholine was detected in the snow sprays of certain manufacturers, thus indicating that they are technologically avoidable in these products too. Manufacturers are urged to check their recipes and change them if necessary in order to avoid the formation of N-nitrosomorpholine. According to product safety law, products may only be placed on the market if they do not endanger the safety and health of the user when used in the intended or foreseeable manner.



Date Title Size
BfR Opinion No. 005/2012
Toys made of natural and synthetic rubber for children under three years of age: Release of N-nitrosamines should be as low as possible 31.4 KB




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