Ventilation of indoor air has been hypothesized to be a source of PBDEs to outdoors. To study this, tri-decabrominated diphenyl ethers were analyzed in outgoing air samples collected inside ventilation systems just before exiting 33 buildings and compared to indoor air samples from microenvironments in each building collected simultaneously. Median Sigma 10PBDE (BDE- 28, -47, -99, -153, -183, -197, -206, -207, -208, -209) concentrations in air from apartment, office and day care center buildings were 93, 3700, and 660 pg/m(3) for outgoing air, and 92, 4700, and 1200 pg/m(3) for indoor air, respectively. BDE-209 was the major congener found. No statistically significant differences were seen for individual PBDE concentrations in matched indoor and outgoing air samples, indicating that outgoing air PBDE concentrations are equivalent to indoor air concentrations. PBDE concentrations in indoor and outgoing air were higher than published outdoor air values suggesting ventilation as a conduit of PBDEs, including BDE-209, from indoors to outdoors. BDE-209 and sum of BDE-28, -47, -99, and -153 emissions from indoor air to outdoors were roughly estimated to represent close to 90% of total emissions to outdoor air for Sweden, indicating that contaminated indoor air is an important source of PBDE contamination to outdoor air.
2012. Vol. 46, no 11, 5876-5884 p.