Relationships between estimated flame retardant emissions and levels in indoor air and house dust

A significant number of consumer goods and building materials can act as emission sources of flame retardants (FRs) in the indoor environment. We investigate the rela-tionship between the emission source strength and the levels of 19 brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and seven organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs) in air and dust collected in 38 indoor microenvironments in Norway. We use modeling methods to back-calculate emission rates from indoor air and dust measurements and identify possible indications of an emission-to-dust pathway.

Experimentally based emission estimates provide a satisfactory indication of the relative emission strength of indoor sources. Modeling results indicate an up to two orders of magnitude enhanced emis-sion strength for OPFRs (median emission rates of 0.083 and 0.41 μg h−1 for air-based and dust-based estimates) compared to BFRs (0.52 and 0.37 ng h−1 median emission rates). A consistent emission- to- dust signal, defined as higher dust-based than air-based emission estimates, was identified for four of the seven OPFRs, but only for one of the 19 BFRs. It is concluded, however, that uncertainty in model input parameters could potentially lead to the false identification of an emission-to-dust signal.

Subscribe to our newsletter