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Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in aircraft cabins – a source of human exposure?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Chemistry.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Chemistry.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Chemistry.
Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University Hospital.
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2008 (English)In: Chemosphere, ISSN 0045-6535, E-ISSN 1879-1298, Vol. 73, no 10, 1654-1660 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Commercial aircrafts need a high degree of fire protection for passenger safety. Brominated flame retardants (BFRs), including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), may be used for this purpose. Because PBDEs readily absorb to dust particles, aircraft crew and passengers may receive significant PBDEs exposure via inhalation. The aims of this work were to assess whether PBDEs could be found in aircraft cabin dust and whether serum levels of PBDEs increased in passengers after long-distance flights. Hence nine subjects on intercontinental flights collected cabin dust samples, as well as donated blood samples before departure and after return to Sweden. Two subjects who were domestic frequent flyers were also investigated. The levels of PBDEs in dust and serum were determined by GC/MS in electron capture negative ionization (ECNI) mode. Authentic reference substances were used for identification and quantitation. PBDEs were found in all aircraft dust samples at high concentrations, higher than in common household dust. Congener patterns indicated that the technical products PentaBDE, OctaBDE and DecaBDE were used in the aircrafts. Serum concentrations in the travellers were similar to those observed in Swedish residents in general. Post-travel serum levels of BDE-28, BDE-99, BDE-100, BDE-153, and BDE-154 were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than concentrations prior to travel. The findings from this pilot study call for investigations of occupational exposures to PBDEs in cabin and cockpit crews.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 73, no 10, 1654-1660 p.
Keyword [en]
Analysis; BFR; Dust; Human serum; PBDEs; Human levels
National Category
Chemical Sciences
Research subject
Environmental Chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24892DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.07.071ISI: 000261561600012PubMedID: 18786695OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-24892DiVA: diva2:198483
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7519Available from: 2008-04-23 Created: 2008-04-23 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Synthesis of highly brominated diphenyl ethers and aspects on photolysis and indoor spreading
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Synthesis of highly brominated diphenyl ethers and aspects on photolysis and indoor spreading
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Adding chemicals to materials to decrease flammability can be dated back to as early as 450 BC when the Egyptians used alum to reduce flammability of wood. Almost 2500 years later brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are used to prevent ignition of textiles, electronics and polymers. BFRs in major use today are polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), including derivatives. There have been three industrial PBDE mixtures produced. Extensive scientific reporting has shown increasing concentrations of PBDEs in wildlife and in humans. This in combination with reports on their physico-chemical characteristics and chemical reactivity have led to that two of the PBDE products have been classified as being persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, which has led to legislative measures, in e.g. EU, Norway and the USA.

The availability of pure reference standards is a prerequisite for much toxicologically related research. Hence the main objective of this thesis was to develop additional methods for synthesis of highly brominated diphenyl ethers. Further, to quantify and identify photolysis products of decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) and to perform a case study regarding PBDE exposure in aircrafts.

Synthesis of highly brominated BDE congeners by perbromination of mono- or diaminodiphenyl ethers followed by diazotization of the amino group(s) and introduction of hydrogen(s) in the molecules is a convenient route for synthesis of some octaBDEs and all nonaBDEs. Selective bromination of diaminodiphenyl ether, followed by diazotization of the amino groups and substitution with bromines yielded a hexaBDE or a heptaBDE which were then further brominated to octaBDE congeners.

Even though several studies have been performed on photolysis of decaBDE a new study with a more quantitative approach was performed as part of this thesis. Debrominated PBDE products were identified and quantified and a marker PBDE for UV degradation of DecaBDE was identified i.e., 2,2’,3,3’,5,5’,6,6-octabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-202). Polybrominated dibenzofuranes, methoxlated brominated dibenzofuranes, pentabromophenol and hydroxylated bromobenzenes were also detected. The PBDEs accounted for approximately 90% of the total amount of substances in each sample and the PBDFs for about 10%. Also, a case study on potential exposure to PBDEs in humans travelling long distances by aircraft was done. It was shown that PBDE concentrations in dust onboard aircrafts may be high and increased PBDE serum levels were indicated in a majority of the travellers.

The present thesis has contributed to make higher brominated diphenyl ethers available as reference standards, allowing better quantitative assessments possible regarding both abiotic studies and exposure assessments. New toxicological testing can also be pursued.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för miljökemi, 2008. 81 p.
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Environmental Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7519 (URN)978-91-7155-579-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-05-23, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 12 A, Stockholm, 13:00
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Supervisors
Available from: 2008-04-23 Created: 2008-04-23Bibliographically approved

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