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Chemosphere. 2011 May;83(10):1360-5. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.02.078. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

"Novel" brominated flame retardants in Belgian and UK indoor dust: implications for human exposure.

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Toxicological Center, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk-Antwerp, Belgium.


Concentrations of several "novel" brominated flame retardants (NBFRs) are reported in indoor dust samples from Belgian houses (n=39) and offices (n=6) and from day-care centers and schools in the West Midlands of the UK (n=36). Using a GC-ECNI/MS method, the following NBFRs were quantified: decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE) (range <20-2470 ng g(-1)), 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTBPE) (range <0.5-1740 ng g(-1)), tetrabromobisphenol A-bis(2,3-dibromopropylether) (TBBPA-DBPE) (range <20-9960 ng g(-1)), 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB) (range <2-436 ng g(-1)) and bis(2-ethylhexyl)-3,4,5,6-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH) (range <2-6175 ng g(-1)). Hexachlorocyclopentadienyl-dibromocyclooctane (HCDBCO), another NBFR, was below the detection limit of 2 ng g(-1) dust in all dust samples. No correlation was detected between concentrations of NBFRs and PBDEs. The ratio of TBB:TBPH in the dust samples ranged from 0.01 to 4.77 (average 0.42), compared to the ratio present in the commercial flame retardant product FM 550 (TBB:TBPH=4:1). Furthermore, no correlation was detected between concentrations in dust of TBB and TBPH. This may suggest different sources of these NBFRs, or similar sources but compound-specific differences in their indoor fate and transport. Exposure via dust ingestion was estimated for both adults and toddlers under low-end (5th percentile), typical (median), and high-end (95th percentile concentrations) scenarios. These were calculated assuming 100% absorption of intake dust and using mean dust ingestion (adults=20 mg d(-1); for toddlers=50 mg d(-1)) and high dust ingestion (adults=50 mg d(-1); for toddlers=200 mg d(-1)). Typical exposure with high dust ingestion estimates for adults were 0.01, 0.2, 0.01, 0.02 and 0.08 ng kg(-1) bw d(-1) and for toddlers 0.05, 1.9, 0.08, 0.4 and 1.12 ng kg(-1) bw d(-1) for BTBPE, DBDPE, TBB, TBPH and TBBPA-DBPE, respectively. Our results showed that, similar to PBDEs, toddlers have higher exposure to NBFRs than adults. This study documents the presence of NBFRs in indoor environments, and emphasizes the need to evaluate the health implications of exposure to such chemicals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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