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Human Exposure to Legacy and Emerging Halogenated Flame Retardants via Inhalation and Dust Ingestion in a Norwegian Cohort

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journal contribution
posted on 29.06.2017, 18:36 by Joo Hui Tay, Ulla Sellström, Eleni Papadopoulou, Juan Antonio Padilla-Sánchez, Line Småstuen Haug, Cynthia A. de Wit
In this study, we estimated human exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDDs), and several emerging flame retardants (EFRs) via inhalation and dust ingestion. Sixty indoor stationary air samples, 13 personal air samples, and 60 settled dust samples were collected from a Norwegian cohort during winter 2013. PBDEs showed the highest median concentration in dust (1200 ng/g), followed by EFRs (730 ng/g) and HBCDDs (190 ng/g). The PBDE concentrations in dust were mainly driven by BDE-209 and those of EFRs by bis­(2-ethylhexyl) tetrabromophthalate. EFRs predominated in stationary air samples, with 2-ethylhexyl 2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate and 4-(1,2-dibromoethyl)-1,2-dibromocyclohexane having the highest median concentrations (150 and 25 pg/m3 (sum of α- and β-isomers), respectively). Different profiles and concentrations were observed in personal air samples compared to the corresponding stationary air samples. In relation to inhalation exposure, dust ingestion appears to be the major exposure pathway to FRs (median total exposure 230 pg/kg bw/d, accounting for more than 65% of the total exposure) for the Norwegian cohort. The calculated exposure due to air inhalation was substantially lower when the stationary air concentrations were used rather than personal air concentrations (43 pg/kg bw/d versus 130 pg/kg bw/d). This suggests that other exposure situations (such as outdoors or in offices) contributed significantly to the overall personal exposure, which cannot be included by using only a stationary air sampling technique. The median and 95th percentile exposures for all target FRs did not exceed the reference dose.