Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in dust from primary schools in South East Queensland, Australia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Leisa Maree L Toms
  • Mandana Mazaheri
  • Sandra Brommer
  • Samuel Clifford
  • Jochen F. Mueller
  • Phong Thai
  • Lidia Morawska
  • Fiona A. Harden

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • The University of Queensland
  • National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology
  • School of Clinical Sciences and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.
  • School of Public Health and Social Work and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
  • Queensland University of Technology QUT
  • International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health
  • Centre for Air Quality and Health Research and Evaluation


PBDE concentrations are higher in children compared to adults with exposure suggested to include dust ingestion. Besides the home environment, children spend a great deal of time in school classrooms which may be a source of exposure. As part of the "Ultrafine Particles from Traffic Emissions and Children's Health (UPTECH)" project, dust samples (n=28) were obtained in 2011/12 from 10 Brisbane, Australia metropolitan schools and analysed using GC and LC-MS for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) -17, -28, -47, -49, -66, -85, -99, -100, -154, -183, and -209. Σ11PBDEs ranged from 11-2163ng/g dust; with a mean and median of 600 and 469ng/g dust, respectively. BDE-209 (range n.d. -2034ng/g dust; mean (median) 402 (217)ng/g dust) was the dominant congener in most classrooms. Frequencies of detection were 96%, 96%, 39% and 93% for BDE-47, -99, -100 and -209, respectively. No seasonal variations were apparent and from each of the two schools where XRF measurements were carried out, only two classroom items had detectable bromine. PBDE intake for 8-11 year olds can be estimated at 0.094ng/day BDE-47; 0.187ng/day BDE-99 and 0.522ng/day BDE-209 as a result of ingestion of classroom dust, based on mean PBDE concentrations. The 97.5% percentile intake is estimated to be 0.62, 1.03 and 2.14ng/day for BDEs-47, -99 and -209, respectively. These PBDE concentrations in dust from classrooms, which are higher than in Australian homes, may explain some of the higher body burden of PBDEs in children compared to adults when taking into consideration age-dependant behaviours which increase dust ingestion.

Bibliographic note

Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-140
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Research
Early online date1 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


  • Children, Dust, Intake, Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, Schools