Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association

The potential for human exposure, direct and indirect, to the suspected carcinogenic triphenylmethane dye Brilliant Green from green paper towels.

PMID 21596089


Triphenylmethanes - Malachite Green (MG), Crystal Violet (CV) and Brilliant Green (BG) are dyes with known genotoxic and carcinogenic properties. Apart from being illegally used in aquaculture for treatment of fish diseases they are also applied in industry such as paper production to colour paper towels widely used in hospitals, factories and other locations for hand drying after washing. The present study provides evidence that the triphenylmethane dye (BG) present in green paper towels can migrate through the skin even when the exposure time is short (30-300 s). The transfer of the dye from the towel to food (fish) was also studied and a high amount of colour was found to migrate during overnight exposure. The risk to humans associated with these two dye transfer studies was assessed using a 'margin of exposure approach' on the basis of the toxicological data available for the closely related dye MG and its metabolite Leucomalachite Green. The data indicated that the risk associated with the use of triphenylmethane containing paper towels is of a similar proportion to the risk associated with consumption of fish contaminated with these dyes due to the illegal application in aquaculture.