While it is known that the ingestion of indoor dust contributes substantially to human exposure to the recently restricted polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), the situation for one class of potential replacements, i.e. organophosphate esters (OPEs), used in a variety of applications including as flame retardants has yet to be fully characterised. In this study, surface dust from twelve different cars from various locations throughout Germany were analysed for eight OPEs, decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE), and eight PBDEs. In five cars, tris-(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP) was the dominant compound with concentrations up to 620 μg g−1 dust. High concentrations of tri-cresyl phosphate (TCP) (up to 150 μg g−1) were also detected in two samples of car dust. Dust from ten offices in the same building in Ludwigsburg, Germany was also analysed. In these samples, tri (2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBEP) predominated with an average concentration of 7.0 μg g−1 dust, followed by tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCPP) at 3.0 μg g−1 and triphenyl phosphate (TPhP) at 2.5 μg g−1 dust. Although caution must be exercised given the relatively small database reported here; this study provides evidence that cars and offices from Germany are significantly more contaminated with OPEs than PBDEs. Average concentrations of ΣOPEs were ten times higher in car than in office dust. This is the first study to provide data on a wide range of OPE concentrations in German indoor dust samples.
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