Brominated flame retardants in a computer technical service: Indoor air gas phase, submicron (PM1) and coarse (PM10) particles, associated inhalation exposure, and settled dust
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Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are found in multi-media indoors, therefore, may pose serious risks to human health. This study investigated the occurrence of BFRs in particulate matter (PM1 and PM10 and gas phase by active and passive sampling, and settled dust to estimate potential exposure in a computer technical service. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and their alternatives (novel BFRs, NBFRs) were studied. PM and gas phase were collected on glass fiber filters and polyurethane foam plugs, respectively, and analyzed with a GC/MS after extraction, clean-up, and concentration. Inhalation exposure of the staff was estimated based on the measured concentrations using Monte Carlo simulation. BDE-209 was the dominating PBDE congener in all media while bis(2-ethylhexyl)-3,4,5,6-tetrabromophthalate and 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane were those of NBFRs. Submicron particulate matter (PM1) BFR levels constituted about one half of the PM10-associated concentrations, while average PM10 mass concentration (69.9 mu g m(-3)) was nine times that of PM1 (7.73 mu g m(-3)). Calculated log(10) dust-gas and PM-gas partitioning coefficients ranged from -5.03 to -2.10, -2.21 to -0.55, and -2.26 to -1.04 for settled dust, PM10, and PM1, respectively. The indoor/outdoor concentration ratios were >1 for all compounds indicating the strength of indoor sources in the service. The estimated potential inhalation exposures, for future chronic-toxic and carcinogenic risk assessments, indicated that the levels of gas-phase and PM1-associated exposures were similar at approximately one half of PM10-associated levels. Results of this study indicate that the occurrence of BFRs in all studied media should be taken into consideration for occupational health mitigation efforts. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.