Levels of brominated flame retardants in humans and their environment : occupational and home exposure
Abstract: Plasma from workers at an electronic dismantling plant were analysed for tri- to heptaBDEs (brominated diphenyl ethers), during 18 months. The different exposed groups showed concentrations ranging from 0.06to 2.8 ng g-1 (l.w.). Only BDE #153 and #183 showed elevated levels compared to the general population in Sweden. The levels in the workers were approximately one order of magnitude higher. No clear trend of increased BDE levels was seen during the study period, nor was there a reduction of the plasma concentration during and after the vacation.Air levels of tri- to decaBDEs, BTBPE (1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)-ethane) and DeBDethane (1,2-bis(pentabromophenyl)ethane) ranging from 0.082 to 370 ng m-3 were determined at the same electronic dismantling facility. A comparison was made to the levels reported in this facility before an increase of the production volume. The levels of tri- to hexaBDEs, the main compounds in the commercial PentaBDE mixture, were very similar 2001-02 and 2005. Hepta- to decaBDEs, which are the main components in the Octa- and DecaBDE mixtures, were about three to five times higher in 2005 than in 2001-02. The mean level for BTBPE was two times higher 2001-02 while the concentration of DeBDethane measured 73 times higher 2005.Levels of tri- to decaBDEs, BTBPE and DeBDethane were also determined in air, dust and human plasma from households. The levels of the individual BDEs in the plasma samples varied between <0.41 ng g-1 (l.w.) to 17 ng g-1 (l.w). BDE #28 and #47 were present in all air samples, with mean values of 0.015 and 0.12 ng m-3, respectively. BDE #209 was only found in one air sample at a concentration above the detection limit. DeBDethane was detected in only one sample, at a level of 0.023 ng m-3. All the analytes were found in the dust samples at levels ranging from 0.51 to 1600 ng g-1, the highest concentrations were found for BDE #209. DeBDethane was among the most abundant BFRs in the dust at a mean concentration of 47 ng g-1. The concentrations of the sumBDE showed a positive relationship in dust and plasma.Eggs from Northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) in the Faroe Islands were sampled for BFRs to establish the levels in remote regions. . The content of tri- to heptaBDEs, BDE #209 and BTBPE were determined in nine samples in concentrations ranging from non-detectable (< 0.02 ng g−1 l.w.) to 7 ng g−1(l.w.). BTBPE was detected in eight samples at a mean level of 0.11 ng g−1 (l.w).All work included substantial method development and adaption of existing methods. Validation of a solid phase extraction (SPE) method to analyse tri- to heptabrominated diphenyl ethers in human plasma was performed. The SPE extraction method was found to be faster and less solvent- and sample-demanding, compared to the previously used open column extraction based method.
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