Sustainability Issue #4 November 2011

This is printed from sustainability.formas.se, last updated 11/2/2011 6:55:08 PM

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How did the research turn out? What were the findings? Researchers themselves report briefly on the research they have undertaken with funding support from the Formas Research Council.

Editor: Margaretha Nordahl

It is in the air…

Is indoor air important for human exposure to tetra decabromodiphenyl ethers and hexabromocyclododecanes, and is it an important source for outdoor air?
Cynthia de Witt (project leader)
Summary of results with list of publications from Applied Environmental Sciences, Stockholm University.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) and hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCD) are used as flame retardants in plastics, rubber and textiles. They are used in computers, TV sets, electronics, furniture, fitted carpets, etc. These products are to be found in our homes, in public buildings, at places of work and in cars, buses and planes, and there are no restrictions on their use.

There has long been speculation that people could be exposed to PBDE and HBCD not only via food but also through inhalation, since flame retardants could leak from the products into the indoor air. Once they are in the air, they have the ability to adhere in large quantities to airborne particles and dust particles. Exposure from the air and dust could explain why some people have much higher levels than others. But few studies have been made to find whether or not this is correct.

It has also been speculated that indoor air may be a source of PBDE and HBCD for outdoor air, where these compounds can be carried a long way in the air and contaminate the environment, and enter our food via various food webs. But this has not been studied either. The objective of this project was therefore to measure people’s exposure via the indoor air and household dust, and the effect on the outdoor air.

Responsible for this page: Birgitta Bruzelius

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Sustainability November 2011

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