Within-room and within-building temporal and spatial variations in concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in indoor dust

D. Muenhor, S. Harrad

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Within-house and within-room spatial temporal variability in PBDE contamination of indoor dust may influence substantially the reliability of human exposure assessments based on single point samples, but have hitherto been little studied. This paper reports concentrations of PBDEs 17, 28, 47, 49, 66, 85, 99, 100, 153, and 154 in indoor dust samples (n=112) from two houses in Birmingham, UK. To evaluate within-house spatial variability, four separate rooms were sampled in house 1 and two separate rooms sampled in house 2. Up to four different 1m areas in the same room were sampled to evaluate within-room spatial variability, and for all studied areas, samples were taken for eight consecutive months to evaluate temporal and seasonal variability. Concentrations of σPBDEs in individual samples from house 1 varied between 21 and 280ngg; while the range of concentrations in house 2 was 20-1000ngg. This indicates that where and when a sample is taken in a house can influence substantially the contamination detected. In one room, concentrations of PBDEs in an area located close to putative PBDE sources exceeded substantially those in an area 2m away, with marked differences also observed between two areas in another room. Substantial within-room spatial differences in PBDE concentrations were not discernible in the other rooms studied. Concentrations of PBDEs in the majority of rooms within the same houses were not markedly different between rooms. Nevertheless, large differences were observed between PBDE concentrations detected in two rooms in the same house in both houses studied. In one instance, this is hypothesised to be attributable to the presence of a carpet in one room and bare wooden floor in another, but firm conclusions cannot be drawn. Within-room temporal (month-to-month) variability was substantial (relative standard deviations for σPBDEs=15-200%). In some rooms, the introduction and removal of putative sources like a TV and a bed, appeared to exert a discernible influence on PBDE concentrations. PBDE concentrations in spring and summer were not markedly different from those observed in autumn and winter. Possible dilution of PBDE concentrations in dust at higher dust loadings (g dust per m floor surface) was investigated in a small number of rooms, but no firm evidence of such dilution was evident.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-27
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironment International
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2012


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