Test chamber investigation of the volatilization from source materials of brominated flame retardants and their subsequent deposition to indoor dust

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  • Environmental Risk and Health Unit VITO Mol


Numerous studies have reported elevated concentrations of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in dust from indoor micro-environments. Limited information is available, however, on the pathways via which BFRs in source materials transfer to indoor dust. The most likely hypothesized pathways are (a) volatilization from the source with subsequent partitioning to dust, (b) abrasion of the treated product, transferring microscopic fibers or particles to the dust (c) direct uptake to dust via contact between source and dust. This study reports the development and application of an in-house test chamber for investigating BFR volatilization from source materials and subsequent partitioning to dust. The performance of the chamber was evaluated against that of a commercially available chamber, and inherent issues with such chambers were investigated, such as loss due to sorption of BFRs to chamber surfaces (so-called sink effects). The partitioning of polybrominated diphenyl ethers to dust, post-volatilization from an artificial source was demonstrated, while analysis in the test chamber of a fabric curtain treated with the hexabromocyclododecane formulation, resulted in dust concentrations exceeding substantially those detected in the dust pre-experiment. These results provide the first experimental evidence of BFR volatilization followed by deposition to dust.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-404
Number of pages12
JournalIndoor Air
Issue number4
Early online date17 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Brominated flame retardants, Migration pathways to dust, Test chamber sink effects, Test chambers, Transfer to dust, Volatilization