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Concept: Fire retardant


Indoor dust is a reservoir for commercial consumer product chemicals, including many compounds with known or suspected health effects. However, most dust exposure studies measure few chemicals in small samples. We systematically searched the U.S. indoor dust literature on phthalates, replacement flame retardants (RFRs), perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), synthetic fragrances, and environmental phenols and estimated pooled geometric means (GMs) and 95% confidence intervals for 45 chemicals measured in ≥3 data sets. In order to rank and contextualize these results, we used the pooled GMs to calculate residential intake from dust ingestion, inhalation, and dermal uptake from air, and then identified hazard traits from the Safer Consumer Products Candidate Chemical List. Our results indicate that U.S. indoor dust consistently contains chemicals from multiple classes. Phthalates occurred in the highest concentrations, followed by phenols, RFRs, fragrance, and PFASs. Several phthalates and RFRs had the highest residential intakes. We also found that many chemicals in dust share hazard traits such as reproductive and endocrine toxicity. We offer recommendations to maximize comparability of studies and advance indoor exposure science. This information is critical in shaping future exposure and health studies, especially related to cumulative exposures, and in providing evidence for intervention development and public policy.

Concepts: Mathematics, Measurement, Chemistry, Fire retardant, Chemical compound, Dust, Intake, Aroma compound


California’s furniture flammability standard Technical Bulletin 117 (TB 117) is believed to be a major driver of chemical flame retardant (FR) use in residential furniture in the United States. With the phase-out of the polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) FR mixture PentaBDE in 2005, alternative FRs are increasingly being used to meet TB 117; however, it was unclear which chemicals were being used and how frequently. To address this data gap, we collected and analyzed 102 samples of polyurethane foam from residential couches purchased in the United States from 1985 to 2010. Overall, we detected chemical flame retardants in 85% of the couches. In samples purchased prior to 2005 (n = 41) PBDEs associated with the PentaBDE mixture including BDEs 47, 99, and 100 (PentaBDE) were the most common FR detected (39%), followed by tris(1,3-dichloroisopropyl) phosphate (TDCPP; 24%), which is a suspected human carcinogen. In samples purchased in 2005 or later (n = 61) the most common FRs detected were TDCPP (52%) and components associated with the Firemaster550 (FM 550) mixture (18%). Since the 2005 phase-out of PentaBDE, the use of TDCPP increased significantly. In addition, a mixture of nonhalogenated organophosphate FRs that included triphenyl phosphate (TPP), tris(4-butylphenyl) phosphate (TBPP), and a mix of butylphenyl phosphate isomers were observed in 13% of the couch samples purchased in 2005 or later. Overall the prevalence of flame retardants (and PentaBDE) was higher in couches bought in California compared to elsewhere, although the difference was not quite significant (p = 0.054 for PentaBDE). The difference was greater before 2005 than after, suggesting that TB 117 is becoming a de facto standard across the U.S. We determined that the presence of a TB 117 label did predict the presence of a FR; however, lack of a label did not predict the absence of a flame retardant. Following the PentaBDE phase out, we also found an increased number of flame retardants on the market. Given these results, and the potential for human exposure to FRs, health studies should be conducted on the types of FRs identified here.

Concepts: United States, Mixture, Fire retardant, Flame retardant, Decabromodiphenyl ether, Polychlorinated biphenyl, Flame retardants, De facto


Higher house dust levels of PBDE flame retardants (FRs) have been reported in California than other parts of the world, due to the state’s furniture flammability standard. However, changing levels of these and other FRs have not been evaluated following the 2004 U.S. phase-out of PentaBDE and OctaBDE. We analyzed dust collected in 16 California homes in 2006 and again in 2011 for 62 FRs and organohalogens, which represents the broadest investigation of FRs in homes. Fifty-five compounds were detected in at least one sample; 41 in at least 50% of samples. Concentrations of chlorinated OPFRs, including two (TCEP and TDCIPP) listed as carcinogens under California’s Proposition 65, were found up to 0.01% in dust, higher than previously reported in the U.S. In 75% of the homes, we detected TDBPP, or brominated “Tris,” which was banned in children’s sleepwear because of carcinogenicity. To our knowledge, this is the first report on TDBPP in house dust. Concentrations of Firemaster 550 components (EH-TBB, BEH-TEBP, and TPHP) were higher in 2011 than 2006, consistent with its use as a PentaBDE replacement. Results highlight the evolving nature of FR exposures and suggest that manufacturers continue to use hazardous chemicals and replace chemicals of concern with chemicals with uncharacterized toxicity.

Concepts: DNA, United States, Fire retardant, Plastic, Decabromodiphenyl ether, Brominated flame retardant, Flame retardants, Dust explosion


BACKGROUND: Flame retardant chemicals are used in materials on airplanes to slow the propagation of fire. These chemicals migrate from their source products and can be found in the dust of airplanes, creating the potential for exposure. METHODS: To characterize exposure to flame retardant chemicals in airplane dust, we collected dust samples from locations inside 19 commercial airplanes parked overnight at airport gates. In addition, hand-wipe samples were also collected from 9 flight attendants and 1 passenger who had just taken a cross-country (USA) flight. The samples were analyzed for a suite of flame retardant chemicals. To identify the possible sources for the brominated flame retardants, we used a portable XRF analyzer to quantify bromine concentrations in materials inside the airplanes. RESULTS: A wide range of flame retardant compounds were detected in 100% of the dust samples collected from airplanes, including BDEs 47, 99, 153, 183 and 209, tris(1,3-dichloro-isopropyl)phosphate (TDCPP), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and bis-(2-ethylhexyl)-tetrabromo-phthalate (TBPH). Airplane dust contained elevated concentrations of BDE 209 (GM: 500 ug/g; range: 2,600 ug/g) relative to other indoor environments, such as residential and commercial buildings, and the hands of participants after a cross-country flight contained elevated BDE 209 concentrations relative to the general population. TDCPP, a known carcinogen that was removed from use in children’s pajamas in the 1970’s although still used today in other consumer products, was detected on 100% of airplanes in concentrations similar to those found in residential and commercial locations. CONCLUSION: This study adds to the limited body of knowledge regarding exposure to flame retardants on commercial aircraft, an environment long hypothesized to be at risk for maximum exposures due to strict flame retardant standards for aircraft materials. Our findings indicate that flame retardants are widely used in many airplane components and all airplane types, as expected. Most flame retardants, including TDCPP, were detected in 100% of dust samples collected from the airplanes. The concentrations of BDE 209 were elevated by orders of magnitude relative to residential and office environments.

Concepts: Fire retardant, Flame retardant, Decabromodiphenyl ether, Bromine, Brominated flame retardant, Flame retardants, Hexabromocyclododecane, Aircraft


Ever since the interest in organic environmental contaminants first emerged 50years ago, there has been a need to present discussion of such chemicals and their transformation products using simple abbreviations so as to avoid the repetitive use of long chemical names. As the number of chemicals of concern has increased, the number of abbreviations has also increased dramatically, sometimes resulting in the use of different abbreviations for the same chemical. In this article, we propose abbreviations for flame retardants (FRs) substituted with bromine or chlorine atoms or including a functional group containing phosphorus, i.e. BFRs, CFRs and PFRs, respectively. Due to the large number of halogenated and organophosphorus FRs, it has become increasingly important to develop a strategy for abbreviating the chemical names of FRs. In this paper, a two step procedure is proposed for deriving practical abbreviations (PRABs) for the chemicals discussed. In the first step, structural abbreviations (STABs) are developed using specific STAB criteria based on the FR structure. However, since several of the derived STABs are complicated and long, we propose instead the use of PRABs. These are, commonly, an extract of the most essential part of the STAB, while also considering abbreviations previously used in the literature. We indicate how these can be used to develop an abbreviation that can be generally accepted by scientists and other professionals involved in FR related work. Tables with PRABs and STABs for BFRs, CFRs and PFRs are presented, including CAS (Chemical Abstract Service) numbers, notes of abbreviations that have been used previously, CA (Chemical Abstract) name, common names and trade names, as well as some fundamental physico-chemical constants.

Concepts: Chemical reaction, Chemistry, Fire retardant, Chlorine, Acronym and initialism, CAS registry number, Abbreviation, Abbreviations


During the past decade, use of organophosphate compounds as flame retardants and plasticizers has increased. Numerous studies investigating biomarkers (i.e., urinary metabolites) demonstrate ubiquitous human exposure and suggest that human exposure may be increasing. To formally assess temporal trends, we combined data from 14 U.S. epidemiologic studies for which our laboratory group previously assessed exposure to two commonly used organophosphate compounds, tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCIPP) and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP). Using individual-level data and samples collected between 2002 and 2015, we assessed temporal and seasonal trends in urinary bis(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (BDCIPP) and diphenyl phosphate (DPHP), the metabolites of TDCIPP and TPHP, respectively. Data suggest that BDCIPP concentrations have increased dramatically since 2002. Samples collected in 2014 and 2015 had BDCIPP concentrations that were more than 15 times higher than those collected in 2002 and 2003 (10(β) = 16.5; 95% confidence interval from 9.64 to 28.3). Our results also demonstrate significant increases in DPHP levels; however, increases were much smaller than for BDCIPP. Additionally, results suggest that exposure varies seasonally, with significantly higher levels of exposure in summer for both TDCIPP and TPHP. Given these increases, more research is needed to determine whether the levels of exposure experienced by the general population are related to adverse health outcomes.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Statistics, United States, Assessment, Fire retardant, Confidence interval, Season, Polychlorinated biphenyl


Evidence from animal studies suggests that exposure to organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs) can disrupt endocrine function and impair embryo development. However, no epidemiologic studies have been conducted to evaluate effects on fertility and pregnancy outcomes.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Embryo, Fetus, Fertility, In vitro fertilisation, Fire retardant, Flame retardant, Flame retardants


Children are exposed to flame retardants from the built environment. Brominated diphenyl ethers (BDE) and organophosphate-based flame retardants (OPFRs) are associated with poorer neurocognitive functioning in children. Less is known, however, about the association between these classes of compounds and children’s emotional and social behaviors. The objective of this study was to determine if flame retardant exposure was associated with measurable differences in social behaviors among children ages 3-5 years.

Concepts: Fire retardant, Flame retardant, Decabromodiphenyl ether, Polychlorinated biphenyl, Brominated flame retardant, Flame retardants, Antimony trioxide


Brominated flame retardants (BFRs), are chemicals widely used in consumer products including electronics, vehicles, plastics and textiles to reduce flammability. Experimental animal studies have confirmed that these compounds may interfere with thyroid hormone homeostasis and neurodevelopment but to date health effects in humans have not been systematically examined.

Concepts: Organism, Thyroid hormone, Fire retardant, Flame retardant, Decabromodiphenyl ether, Brominated flame retardant, Flame retardants, Hexabromocyclododecane


In the current work, chitosan extracted from waste shrimp shells was used in finishing formulation for cotton fabric, along with DMDHEU and other chemicals, imparting multiple performance characteristics such as wrinkle free, antibacterial and flame retardant properties. The finished fabrics were evaluated for textile properties like tensile strength, bending length, yellowness index and functional properties like crease recovery angle, antibacterial activity and flame retardancy and also for the ecological properties like formaldehyde release. The finished fabric showed excellent crease recovery, antibacterial property and flame retardancy which were retained to a moderate extent even after 20 washes. Besides formaldehyde scavenging action, chitosan clearly showed its positive role in imparting multifunctional properties to cotton.

Concepts: Cotton, Fire retardant, Flame retardant, Tensile strength, Textile, Yarn, Aramid, Tent