Sustainability Issue #4 November 2011

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


Change language


Main content

Results from research

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

Journal links

Sustainability November 2011

Focus presentation

Sustainable cities need social dimensions Grassroots planning and functioning ecosystems are essential in the runaway development of cities, both vertically and on the ground. Research stresses that the soci...

Focus articles

Urban research is a hot topic More than half the world’s population live in cities. And cities are growing at an accelerating pace. At the same time, population in smaller towns is decreasing. Th... Ecosystems have a hard time in cities In spite of the fact that green spaces are of great significance for the climate of cities and for people’s wellbeing, urban planners have imperfect knowledge of thi... Grass roots in social urban renewal Women have radicalised the democratic system and changed the basis for citizenship itself. Emotions are of fundamental importance in understanding how discrimination... City for children on the go An urban environment must be both secure and exciting if it is to induce children to play and move about. Children of ten are at the stage of their lives when they ... Why do we walk in the city? How shall the urban environment be formulated so as to stimulate people to choose walking in preference to other ways of moving about? This is what researchers are t... Places that counteract violence Four times as any women as men avoid going out on their own. One reason is that in most cases it is women who are the victims of rape. But the fear is not always bas... Pathway joins up Malmö districts From Rosengård to the West Harbour. In 2009, Malmö City received financial support from Delegation for Sustainable Urban Development for the development of a pathway... Architectural research lets in fresh air Swedish architectural research now has the chance of rejuvenation. In April 2011, Formas resolved to allocate MSEK 80 to the Schools of Architecture at KTH, Chalmers... Planning for a new climate How can the city be adapted to a changed climate? This is what a new research project in Göteborg will investigate. In the project where researchers from different d... Best possible technology only the beginning As the world is being urbanised at breakneck speed, energy is one of the limited resources that is demanded to an increasing extent. EU considers that energy economy... Solar energy in urban planning Solar energy must be regarded as one of the most interesting energy sources of the future. In Sweden, the sun shines about as much as in central Europe. Irradiance c...

The Interview

Concerted action for the seas and water From 1 July this year, a new authority, Swedish Agency for Water and Marine Management (HaV) has overall responsibility for the environment in our seas and rivers. T...

More articles

Landslides can spread environmental pollutants Landslides and slips occur along our Swedish coastal areas, lakes and rivers. In connection with such natural phenomena, environmental pollutants from contaminated g... A green street façade makes for a quieter courtyard Noise in courtyards can be extremely intrusive. Most people who have windows facing the courtyard know that noise can be reflected from wall to wall and can get loud... The giant oyster on the west coast is surveyed The Japanese giant oyster was discovered in large numbers along the Swedish west coast in 2007. Today there are more than 200 known sites with giant oysters in Swede... City districts can receive environmental certification More and more buildings in Sweden are receiving environmental certification. Demand is increasing rapidly. Building firms, municipalities and authorities have also b... What can the Baltic Sea put up with? August usually contains a lot of useful information on water. 2011 was no exception. It concerned the Baltic Sea, both at the Finnish Embassy and at a coastal semina... Find staggering disease in cats It has for a long time been difficult to diagnose the fatal staggering disease (feline polioencephalomyelitis) in cats. The staggering disease is a fatal viral disea... Producer responsibility and electrical waste How can legislation be introduced to prevent the dumping of hazardous waste, resulting in the contamination of people and nature in poor countries? The introduction ... Saving the threatened mussel The thick shelled painter’s mussel (Unio pictorum) is the mussel species at greatest threat in Europe. € 4.9 million is now invested in a project that has the aim of... Sweden almost worst as regards nature conservation The Nordic countries are worst when it comes to nature conservation in connection with forest clearance. Finland is worst and Sweden the second worst as regards natu... Disapproved politicians and separate county councils People in Norrland in the north of Sweden are increasingly displeased with the actions of politicians today to encourage employment and entrepreneurship. And most p...

In brief

Another MSEK 46 for Tvärlivs The cross-disciplinary food research programme Tvärlivs has so far invested MSEK 95 in the development of a competitive and sustainable food sector. At the end of S... SLU is developing a computer system for polar rersearch At the beginning of autumn 2011, the EU Seventh Framework Programme allocated the largest single grant so far for research in the northern polar region. About MSEK 7... 15 Swedish researchers receive grants from ERC In its fourth call for applications from prominent young scientists, European Research Council has granted funds to 15 researchers at Swedish universities. The genet... More dead bottoms in the Baltic Sea An international team of researchers reports that oxygen contents in coastal waters in the Baltic Sea have diminished, and this results in more and larger areas with... Fishes also want to have clean conditions The nearest relation of the seahorse, the greater pipefish, wants to have tidy conditions around itself. It does not like its home to be covered by slimy algae, whic... Spruce forests store carbon best Spruce is the best tree species in the south of Sweden as regards storing carbon to the maximum extent. Pine and birch growing on the same type of soil in Halland in... Snow can wipe out mountain plants Plant diseases can affect the way in which a changed climate affects the carbon balance. This occurs is through the changes they cause in the composition of the plan... Triad approach in forestry for diversity The triad approach in forestry has been tried in many places in North America. This means that the landscape is divided up into three types of cultivation: forest fo... Villages administer the forest Ethiopia is being deforested. In order to slow this down, attempts are made to transfer administration of natural forests to the local population. A thesis from Swed... Electronics ready for climate satellite To understand and predict climate changes is one of mankind’s greatest challenges this century. Chalmers researchers have now developed an accurate mesuring equipmen...

Results from research

It is in the air… 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 Forma... … or in the lake 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 Forma... Sea bottom 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 Forma...

People and News

The latest from the field of environmental researchNew appointments, prestigious awards, new research institutes – all the latest from the field of environmental research.

Further links