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Sci Total Environ. 2008 Oct 1;404(1):26-35. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.05.031. Epub 2008 Jul 15.

Occurrence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in indoor dust.

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  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Human exposure to indoor dust enriched with endocrine-disrupting chemicals released from numerous indoor sources has been a focus of increasing concern. Longer residence times and elevated contaminant concentrations in the indoor environment may increase chances of exposure to these contaminants by 1000-fold compared to outdoor exposure. To investigate the occurrence of semi-volatile endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), phthalates, pyrethroids, DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) and its metabolites, and chlordanes, indoor dust samples were collected from household vacuum cleaner bags provided by 10 apartments and 1 community hall in Davis, California, USA. Chemical analyses show that all indoor dust samples are highly contaminated by target analytes measured in the present study. Di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate was the most abundant (104-7630 microg/g) in all samples and higher than other target analytes by 2 to 6 orders of magnitude. PBDEs were also found at high concentrations (1780-25,200 ng/g). Although the use of PCBs has been banned or restricted for decades, some samples had PCBs at levels that are considered to be concerns for human health, indicating that the potential risk posed by PCBs still remains high in the indoor environment, probably due to a lack of dissipation processes and continuous release from the sources. Although the use of some PBDEs is being phased out in some parts of the U.S., this trend may apply to PBDEs as well. We can anticipate that exposure to PBDEs will continue as long as the general public keeps using existing household items such as sofas, mattresses, and carpets that contain PBDEs. This study provides additional information that indoor dust is highly contaminated by persistent and endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

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