Concentrations of organophosphate flame retardants in dust from cars, homes, and offices: an international comparison

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  • University of Queensland


Concentrations of a number of organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs) were measured in floor dust collected from living rooms in Australia (n = 42), Canada (n = 14), Germany (n = 22), and Kazakhstan (n = 9); cars from Australia (n = 39) and Germany (n = 19); and offices from Germany (n = 25) and Kazahkstan (n = 8). PFR concentrations in these samples were compared with each other and with previously reported data for PFRs in dust from similar microenvironments in the UK. Our data reveal significant between-country differences in both absolute concentrations and the relative abundance of specific PFRs in each of the microenvironments studied. Most notably, concentrations of TCIPP in UK living room dust (median = 21 μg g−1) exceeded significantly (p < 0.05) those in all other countries studied here; a substantial number of car dust samples contained elevated concentrations of TDCIPP, and German samples generally contained lower levels of PFRs in all microenvironments studied. In addition, PFRs were determined in dust samples collected from living room couches in both Australia (n = 41) and the UK (n = 10). The elevated concentrations of TCIPP in UK living room dust are likely attributable to the favoured use of this PFR in UK couch foam. This is indicated by concentrations of TCIPP in UK couch dust (median = 610 μg g−1) exceeding significantly those in Australian couch dust (median = 2.9 μg g−1). Moreover, concentrations of TCIPP in UK couch dust originating from couches 15 years old or less, display a marked relationship with the age of the couch, with concentrations in such samples increasing significantly (p < 0.01) with couch age.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-72
Number of pages7
JournalEmerging Contaminants
Issue number2
Early online date30 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Australia, Canada, Germany, Indoor dust, Kazakhstan, PFRs