Are We Exposed to Halogenated Flame Retardants from both Primary and Secondary Sources?
|Year of publication||2020|
|Type||Article in Periodical|
|Magazine / Source||Environmental Science & Technology Letters|
|MU Faculty or unit|
|Keywords||Redox reactions; Atmospheric chemistry; Plastics; Mixtures; Ethers|
|Description||Halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) were measured in air, floor dust, and surface wipes of electronic devices (e-devices) and hands of participants in 51 Canadian homes to assess the relationship between HFR levels in these matrices and to identify major sources and exposure pathways. Hand-held e-devices had significantly higher concentrations of all HFRs than non-hand-held devices, with the exceptions being decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE) and decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209). HFR concentrations on hands were correlated with levels in dust and hand-held e-devices, with the strongest correlations being seen for BDE-47 and -99, 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (EH-TBB), and bis(3-ethylhexyl) tetrabromophthalate (BEH-TEBP). It is highly unlikely that hand-held devices sampled in 2015 had intentionally added BDE-47 and -99 that were regulated in 2008 in Canada. We hypothesize that hands transferred these chemicals from older products, which act as primary sources, to hand-held devices, which then can act as secondary sources of exposure. This study also found evidence for TVs as a primary source of DBDPE and BDE-209 for dust, hand-held devices, and hands. We suggest that an outdated, overly stringent flammability standard, developed in the 1970s to protect against fires from "instant-on" cathode ray tube TVs, led to elevated levels of these HFRs indoors. Although the standard for TV enclosures has been updated recently, the legacy of the outdated standard persists.|