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Products that resemble foods and appeal to children Potential risks of accidental ingestion

 

Glossary over Products that resemble foods and appeal to children

Active ingredient

The term “active ingredient” is mostly used in drugs to name the substance which is pharmaceutically active.

The term “active substance” is also used in biocidal products to name the component which actually kills, or otherwise controls pests or bacteria.

It is not necessarily the largest or most hazardous component of the product. Some products may contain more than one active ingredient or substance. Non-active ingredients are often called inert ingredients. (Source: GreenFacts)

Alcohol

The term alcohol refers to a family of chemicals that occur widely in nature and are mass-produced for use in antifreezes, fuels and some manufacturing processes.

Alcohol is commonly used to refer to alcohol-containing drinks such as wine, beer and spirits. In this case the alcohol, ethanol, has been produced by a process called fermentation. Consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to drunkenness and may be harmful to health. (Source: GreenFacts)

Alveoli

Thin-walled, tiny air sacs located at the ends of the smallest airways in the lungs (the bronchioles) where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place. (Source: GreenFacts, based on WebMD Asthma Glossary of Terms  )

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Circulatory system

The system that contains the heart and the blood vessels and moves blood throughout the body. This system helps tissues get enough oxygen and nutrients, and it helps them get rid of waste products. The lymph system, which connects with the blood system, is often considered part of the circulatory system. (Source: NCI Dictionary of cancer terms  )

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Detergent

Cleaning product that usually contain surfactants to make oils and greases soluble in water and remove them more easily. (Source: GreenFacts)

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  )

Digestive tract

The digestive tract is the system of organs which takes in food, digests it to extract energy and nutrients and expels remaining waste. It includes the mouth, salivary glands, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, large intestine, and rectum.

After food is chewed and swallowed, the digestive juices released by the pancreas and stomach break it down into substances that are readily absorbed through the small intestine. Material that is not taken up by the body collects in the large intestine, forming faecal matter that is then excreted through the anus. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Disinfectant(s)

A chemical or physical process that kills or inactivates microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. (Source: US EPA US EPA Drinking Water Glossary  )

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Esophagus

The muscular tube through which food passes from the pharynx to the stomach. (Source: GreenFacts)

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  )

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  )

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a highly reactive chemical containing the elements hydrogen and oxygen.

Its structural formula is:

Hydrogen peroxide structural formula

Pure hydrogen peroxide is a colourless liquid, but it is sold on the market as solutions in water, containing up to 33 – 37% pure hydrogen peroxide and other additives to stop the product decomposing.

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Immune system

The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by “foreign” invaders. (Source: NIAID Immune System   )

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Inflammation

Inflammation is the reaction of living tissues to infection, irritation or other injury. (Source: GreenFacts)

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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  )

Inhalation

The act of breathing.

A hazardous substance can enter the body by inhaling an airborne substance or contaminant in the form of gas, fumes mists, vapors, dusts, or aerosols. Once inhaled, contaminants can be deposited in the lungs and/or transported into the blood. (Source: GreenFacts)

Innocuous

Not harmful to health. (Source: GreenFacts)

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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Nervous system

The nervous system is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates body activities.

It is made up of:

  • the central nervous system, consisting of the brain and spinal cord, and
  • the peripheral nervous system which includes, the eyes, the ears, the sensory organs of taste and smell, as well as the sensory receptors located in the skin, joints, muscles, and other parts of the body.
Organic solvent

A chemical compound (usually liquid) containing carbon used to dissolve other substances such as paints, varnishes, grease, oil, etc. (Source: GreenFacts, based on Dow Product Safety Glossary  )

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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Plasticiser

A plasticiser is a substance which when added to a material, usually a plastic, produces a product which is flexible, resilient and easier to handle. (Source: Plasticisers Information Centre Frequently Asked Questions )

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Polymer

A polymer is a high-molecular-weight organic compound, natural or man-made, consisting of many repeating simpler chemical units or molecules called monomers.

Examples of natural polymers are proteins (polymer of amino acids) and cellulose (polymer of sugar molecules).

An example of synthetic polymer is PVC (a polymer of vinyl chloride). (Source: GreenFacts)

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Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety

The SCCS provides opinions on questions concerning all types of health and safety risks (notably chemical, biological, mechanical and other physical risks) of non-food consumer products (for example: cosmetic products and their ingredients, toys, textiles, clothing, personal care and household products such as detergents, etc.) and services (for example: tattooing, artificial sun tanning, etc.). For further information on the SCCS, see:

http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/consumer_safety/index_en.htm 

Surfactant

A surfactant is a substance that reduces the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved.

When dissolved in water a surfactant gives a product the ability to remove dirt from surfaces such as the human skin, textiles, and other solids. (Source: GreenFacts)

Susceptibility

The likelihood of producing a significantly larger-than-average response to a specified exposure to a substance.

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Toxic

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


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