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Environ Sci Technol. 2018 Sep 4;52(17):9946-9953. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.8b02723. Epub 2018 Aug 23.

Estimation of Exposure to Organic Flame Retardants via Hand Wipe, Surface Wipe, and Dust: Comparability of Different Assessment Strategies.

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School of Environment, Beijing Key Laboratory for Emerging Organic Contaminants Control, State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control (SKLESPC) , Tsinghua University , Beijing 100084 , China.
School of Environment , Jinan University , Guangzhou , Guangdong 510632 , China.
School of Environment, Henan Normal University , Key Laboratory for Yellow River and Huai River Water Environment and Pollution Control, Ministry of Education, Henan Key Laboratory for Environmental Pollution Control , Xinxiang 453007 , China.


This study aimed to investigate the exposure of three occupational populations (i.e., office worker, taxi drivers, and security guards) to flame retardants by comparing different sampling approaches (i.e., hand wipe, surface wipe, and dust). Hand wipe samples were collected from 68 participants from three populations in Beijing, China. Dust and/or surface wipes were also sampled from their respective occupational workplaces. Ten phosphorus flame retardants (PFRs), two novel brominated flame retardants (NBFRs) and eight polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were analyzed. BDE209, decabromodiphenylethane (DBDPE), tris(chloropropyl) phosphate isomers (∑TCPP), tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) were detected in at least 95% of the samples, collectively accounting for over 90% of the total concentrations in each type of samples. Concentrations and composition profiles of flame retardants differed in hand wipes of the three populations with summed level of all target compounds (∑FRs) ranked as taxi drivers > office workers > security guards. Most FRs in hand wipes were significantly correlated with those in surface wipes, whereas the correlations between hand wipes and dust are weak. Estimated exposure to FRs via dust ingestion and dermal absorption for each population varied when using different types of samples for exposure assessment, suggesting the importance of sampling strategy selection. Estimation via hand wipes indicated that taxi drivers were subjected to greater exposure to PFRs among three populations, while office workers were subjected to greater BFR exposure. Our data suggest hand wipes have the potential of being standardized into a noninvasive method for evaluating human exposure to environmental contaminants across different populations.

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