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Levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers and novel flame retardants in microenvironment dust from Egypt: An assessment of human exposure

The Science of The Total Environment
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.09.080
  • Pbdes
  • Non-Pbdes
  • Flame Retardants
  • Dust
  • Human Exposure
  • Microenvironments
  • Egypt
  • Hbcd


Abstract There are very few studies reporting concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and novel flame retardants (FRs) or non-PBDEs in Africa and the Middle East. The present work reported concentrations of fourteen PBDE congeners and eleven non-PBDE flame retardants in dust samples collected from homes (n=17), workplaces (n=9) and cars (n=5) in the greater Cairo region. The median ∑PBDE concentrations were 57, 425 and 1608ngg−1 in homes, workplaces and cars respectively. The highest PBDE levels were observed for BDE 209, with a median concentration of 40.2, 366 and 1540ngg−1 representing 70% to 95% of the total PBDEs in homes, workplaces and cars respectively. This is about 8 to 46 times greater than the median concentration of the pentaBDE (represented by the most abundant compounds in this formulation, ∑BDE 47, 99 and 100). In the case of non-PBDE flame retardants, a detection frequency between 52% and 100% was observed for several compounds including: hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), hexabromobenzene (HBB), 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (EH-TBB), bis (2-ethyl-1-hexyl) tetrabromophthalate (TBPH), 1,2-bis (2,4,6-tribromophenoxy) ethane (TBPE), ally-2,4,6-tribromophenyl ether (ATE) and Dechlorane Plus (DP). The ∑non-PBDE median concentrations were 8.30, 28.9 and 49.9ngg−1 in homes, workplaces and cars respectively with the highest level observed for HBCD in the three microenvironments. The detection of novel flame retardants in indoor environments may be due to their wide usage after the ban of the penta and octa BDE formulation. Results show the levels of PBDEs and non-PBDEs in Egyptian dust to be among the lowest levels reported from other countries. Different dust exposure scenarios using 5th percentile, median, 95th percentile and maximum levels were estimated for adult and children. The estimated dust intake results were several orders of magnitude lower than the oral reference dose values.

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