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Elevated Concentrations of Semivolatile Organic Compounds in Social Housing Multiunit Residential Building Apartments

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journal contribution
posted on 02.03.2020, 12:37 by Yuchao Wan, Miriam L. Diamond, Jeffrey A. Siegel
Flame retardants and phthalates are commonly used in consumer products and building materials, and as such, are prevalent in indoor air. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can have both indoor and outdoor sources and can also be found in indoor air. Flame retardants, phthalates, and PAHs were measured in indoor air in 71 units in low-income social housing multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) using silicone rubber (polydimethylsiloxane or PDMS) passive air samplers deployed for 1 week in Toronto, Canada, in late spring and winter of 2017. Tris­(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCiPP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), and phenanthrene were the dominate flame retardant, phthalate, and PAH, with median concentrations of 1640 pg/m3 and 1840 and 79.0 ng/m3, respectively. Flame retardant and phthalate concentrations were 2 to 18 times higher than those in predominantly detached and semi-detached houses in Toronto measured using the same passive samplers. These results indicate higher exposures among residents of low-income social housing (63% with income <$23,400) than those of higher socio-economic status single-family dwellings (67% with income >$100,000).