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Occurrence and fate of organophosphate ester flame retardants and plasticizers in indoor air and dust of Nepal: Implication for human exposure

Yadav, Ishwar Chandra, Devi, Ningombam Linthoingambi, Zhong, Guangcai, Li, Jun, Zhang, Gan, Covaci, Adrian
Environmental pollution 2017
adults, air, airports, anthropogenic activities, children, construction materials, dermal exposure, dust, flame retardants, humans, phosphates, plasticizers, soil, traffic, China, India, Nepal
The present study was carried out in Nepal, a landlocked country located between world's two most populous countries i.e. India and China. In this study, the occurrence, profiles, spatial distributions and fate of eight organophosphate ester flame retardants (OPFRs) were investigated in indoor air and house dust. Overall, the concentrations of ∑OPFR were in the range of 153–12100 ng/g (median732 ng/g) and 0.32–64 ng/m3 (median 5.2 ng/m3) in house dust and indoor air, respectively. The sources of high OPFR in the indoor environment could be from locally used wide variety of consumer products and building materials in Nepalese houses. Significantly, high concentration of tri-cresyl phosphate (TMPP) was found both in air and dust, while tri (2-ethylhexyl) phosphate (TEHP) had the highest concentration in air samples. It might be due to fact that the high concentrations of TMPP are related to intense traffic and/or nearby airports. On the other hand, significantly high concentration of TEHP could be due to anthropogenic activities. Only TEHP showed positive correlation between indoor air and house dust (Rho = 0.517, p < 0.01), while rest of compounds were either less correlated or not correlated at all. The estimated human exposure to ∑OPFR via different pathway of intake suggested dermal absorption via indoor dust as major pathway of human exposure to both children and adult population. However, other pathways of OPFR intake such as dietary or dermal absorption via soil may still be significant in case of Nepal.