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J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2001 Apr;51(4):499-513.

Identification of selected hormonally active agents and animal mammary carcinogens in commercial and residential air and dust samples.

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  • 1Silent Spring Institute, Newton, Massachusetts, USA.


In order to characterize typical indoor exposures to chemicals of interest for research on breast cancer and other hormonally mediated health outcomes, methods were developed to analyze air and dust for target compounds that have been identified as animal mammary carcinogens or hormonally active agents and that are used in commercial or consumer products or building materials. These methods were applied to a small number of residential and commercial environments to begin to characterize the extent of exposure to these classes of compounds. Phenolic compounds, including nonylphenol, octylphenol, bisphenol A, and the methoxychlor metabolite 2,2-bis(p-hydroxyphenyl)-1,1,1-trichloroethane (HPTE), were extracted, derivatized, and analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS)-selective ion monitoring (SIM). Selected phthalates, pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were extracted and analyzed by GC/MS-SIM. Residential and workplace samples showed detectable levels of twelve pesticides in dust and seven in air samples. Phthalates were abundant in dust (0.3-524 micrograms/g) and air (0.005-2.8 micrograms/m3). Nonylphenol and its mono- and di-ethoxylates were prevalent in dust (0.82-14 micrograms/g) along with estrogenic phenols such as bisphenol A and o-phenyl phenol. In this 7-sample pilot study, 33 of 86 target compounds were detected in dust, and 24 of 57 target compounds were detected in air. In a single sample from one home, 27 of the target compounds were detected in dust and 15 in air, providing an indication of chemical mixtures to which humans are typically exposed.

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