Emerging and legacy flame retardants in UK indoor air and dust: evidence for replacement of PBDEs by emerging flame retardants?

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Abstract

Concentrations of 27 emerging (EFRs) and legacy flame retardants (LFRs) were measured in samples of indoor air (n=35) and indoor dust (n=77) from UK homes and offices. All target compounds were detected in indoor air and dust samples. Relatively volatile EFRs (e.g. tetrabromoethylcyclohexane - DBE-DBCH) were more frequently detected in indoor air (detection frequencies > 60%), while less volatile EFRs (e.g. tetrabromobisphenolA-bis(2,3-dibromopropyl ether (TBBPA-BDBPE) and decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE)) were predominant in dust. Concentrations of some EFRs (e.g. DBDPE) exceeded significantly those reported previously in UK dust (p<0.05), while concentrations of BDE-209 in office dust were significantly lower (p<0.05) than those reported previously in UK offices, consistent with the application of DBDPE as an alternative to the Deca-BDE formulation, of which BDE-209 is the principal constituent. Moreover, concentrations of BDEs 47 and 99 (both major constituents of the Penta-BDE product) in office air were significantly lower (p<0.05) than those in previous UK studies. Our results constitute important early evidence that restrictions on PBDEs have increased demand for EFRs in the UK, with the result that human exposure to PBDEs in UK homes and offices has decreased while exposure to EFRs has risen.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2016

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