Occurrence of alternative flame retardants in indoor dust from New Zealand: indoor sources and human exposure assessment.

PMID 22551874


Due to worldwide restrictions on polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), the demand for alternative flame retardants (AFRs), such as organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs), novel brominated FRs (NBFRs) and hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs), has recently increased. Little is known about human exposure to NBFRs and OPFRs and that their levels in dust have been scarcely evaluated worldwide. To increase the knowledge regarding these chemicals, we measured concentrations of five major NBFRs, ten OPFRs and three HBCD isomers in indoor dust from New Zealand homes. Dust samples were taken from living room floors (n=34) and from mattresses of the same houses (n=16). Concentrations (ngg(-1)) of NBFRs were: 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTBPE) (<2-175), decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE) (<5-1430), 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB) (<2-2285) and bis(2-ethylhexyl)-3,4,5,6-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH) (<2-640). For OPFRs, concentrations (ngg(-1)) ranged between: tri-ethyl-phosphate (TEP) (<10-235), tri-n-butyl-phosphate (TnBP) (<20-7545), tris-(2-chloroethyl)-phosphate (TCEP) (<20-7605), tris-(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCPP) (20-7615), tri-(2-butoxyethyl)-phosphate (TBEP) (50-27325), tris-(2,3-dichloropropyl)-phosphate (TDCPP) (20-16560), tri-phenyl-phosphate (TPhP) (20-35190), and tri-cresyl-phosphate (TCP) (<50-3760). HBCD concentrations fell in the range <2-4100ngg(-1). BTBPE, DBDPE, TBPH, TBEP, and TnBP showed significant positive correlation (p<0.05) between their concentrations in mattresses and the corresponding floor dust (n=16). These data were used to derive a range of plausible exposure scenarios. Although the estimated exposure is well below the corresponding reference doses (RfDs), caution is needed given the likely future increase in use of these FRs and the currently unknown contribution to human exposure by other pathways such as inhalation and diet.

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