Publication details

Seasonality and indoor/outdoor relationships of flame retardants and PCBs in residential air

Investor logo
Investor logo


Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Environmental Pollution
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Environment influence on health
Keywords Indoor air; Flame retardants; PCBs; Indoor sources; Seasonal trends
Description This study is a systematic assessment of different houses and apartments, their ages and renovation status, indoors and outdoors, and in summer vs. winter, with a goal of bringing some insight into the major sources of semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and their variability. Indoor and outdoor air concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and novel flame retardants (NFRs) were determined at 17-20 homes in Czech Republic in winter and summer. Indoor concentrations were consistently higher than outdoor concentrations for all compounds; indoor/outdoor ratios ranged from 2-20, with larger differences for the current use NFRs than for legacy PCBs. Seasonal trends differed according to the use status of the compounds: the PCBs had higher summer concentrations both indoors and outdoors, suggesting volatilization as a source of PCBs to air. PBDEs had no seasonal trends indoors, but higher summer concentrations outdoors. Several NFRs (TBX, PBT, PBEB) had higher indoor concentrations in winter relative to summer. The seasonal trends in the flame retardants suggest differences in air exchange rates due to lower building ventilation in winter could be driving the concentration differences. Weak relationships were found with building age for PCBs, with higher concentrations indoors in buildings built before 1984, and with the number of electronics for PBDEs, with higher concentrations in rooms with three or more electronic items. Indoor environments are the primary contributor to human inhalation exposure to these SVOCs, due to the high percentage of time spent indoors (>90%) combined with the higher indoors levels for all the studied compounds. Exposure via the indoor environment contributed similar to 96% of the total chronic daily intake via inhalation in summer and similar to 98% in winter.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info