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      Phthalates in Indoor Dust and Their Association with Building Characteristics


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          In a recent study of 198 Swedish children with persistent allergic symptoms and 202 controls without such symptoms, we reported associations between the symptoms and the concentrations of n-butyl benzyl phthalate (BBzP) and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in dust taken from the childrens’ bedrooms. In the present study we examined associations between the concentrations of different phthalate esters in the dust from these bedrooms and various characteristics of the home. The study focused on BBzP and DEHP because these were the phthalates associated with health complaints. Associations have been examined using parametric and nonparametric tests as well as multiple logistic regression. For both BBzP and DEHP, we found associations between their dust concentrations and the amount of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used as flooring and wall material in the home. Furthermore, high concentrations of BBzP (above median) were associated with self-reported water leakage in the home, and high concentrations of DEHP were associated with buildings constructed before 1960. Other associations, as well as absence of associations, are reported. Both BBzP and DEHP were found in buildings with neither PVC flooring nor wall covering, consistent with the numerous additional plasticized materials that are anticipated to be present in a typical home. The building characteristics examined in this study cannot serve as complete proxies for these quite varied sources. However, the associations reported here can help identify homes where phthalate concentrations are likely to be elevated and can aid in developing mitigation strategies.

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          Most cited references31

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          Phthalates, alkylphenols, pesticides, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and other endocrine-disrupting compounds in indoor air and dust.

          Chemicals identified as endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) have widespread consumer uses, yet little is known about indoor exposure. We sampled indoor air and dust in 120 homes, analyzing for 89 organic chemicals identified as EDCs. Fifty-two compounds were detected in air and 66 were detected in dust. These are the first reported measures in residential environments for over 30 of the compounds, including several detected at the highest concentrations. The number of compounds detected per home ranged from 13 to 28 in air and from 6 to 42 in dust. The most abundant compounds in air included phthalates (plasticizers, emulsifiers), o-phenylphenol (disinfectant), 4-nonylphenol (detergent metabolite), and 4-tert-butylphenol (adhesive) with typical concentrations in the range of 50-1500 ng/m3. The penta- and tetrabrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants) were frequently detected in dust, and 2,3-dibromo-1-propanol, the carcinogenic intermediate of a flame retardant banned in 1977, was detected in air and dust. Twenty-three pesticides were detected in air and 27 were detected in dust, the most abundant being permethrins and the synergist piperonyl butoxide. The banned pesticides heptachlor, chlordane, methoxychlor, and DDT were also frequently detected, suggesting limited indoor degradation. Detected concentrations exceeded government health-based guidelines for 15 compounds, but no guidelines are available for 28 compounds, and existing guidelines do not consider endocrine effects. This study provides a basis for prioritizing toxicology and exposure research for individual EDCs and mixtures and provides new tools for exposure assessment in health studies.
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            The Association between Asthma and Allergic Symptoms in Children and Phthalates in House Dust: A Nested Case–Control Study

            Global phthalate ester production has increased from very low levels at the end of World War II to approximately 3.5 million metric tons/year. The aim of the present study was to investigate potential associations between persistent allergic symptoms in children, which have increased markedly in developed countries over the past three decades, and the concentration of phthalates in dust collected from their homes. This investigation is a case–control study nested within a cohort of 10,852 children. From the cohort, we selected 198 cases with persistent allergic symptoms and 202 controls without allergic symptoms. A clinical and a technical team investigated each child and her or his environment. We found higher median concentrations of butyl benzyl phthalate (BBzP) in dust among cases than among controls (0.15 vs. 0.12 mg/g dust). Analyzing the case group by symptoms showed that BBzP was associated with rhinitis (p = 0.001) and eczema (p = 0.001), whereas di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) was associated with asthma (p = 0.022). Furthermore, dose–response relationships for these associations are supported by trend analyses. This study shows that phthalates, within the range of what is normally found in indoor environments, are associated with allergic symptoms in children. We believe that the different associations of symptoms for the three major phthalates—BBzP, DEHP, and di-n-butyl phthalate—can be explained by a combination of chemical physical properties and toxicologic potential. Given the phthalate exposures of children worldwide, the results from this study of Swedish children have global implications.
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              DEHP metabolites in urine of children and DEHP in house dust.

              Urine samples from the 2001/2002 pilot study for the German Environmental Survey on children (GerES IV) were analysed for concentrations of the primary DEHP metabolite MEHP (mono(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate) and two secondary DEHP metabolites SOH-MEHP (2-ethyl-5-hydroxy-hexylphthalate) and 5oxo-MEHP (2-ethyl-5-oxo-hexylphthalate). Urine samples had been taken from 254 children aged 3 to 14. In addition, DEHP was analysed in house dust samples. These samples had been collected with vacuum cleaners in the homes of the children. The geometric mean (GM) was 7.9 microg/l for MEHP in urine, and the GMs for the secondary metabolites 5OH-MEHP and 5oxo-MEHP were 52.1 microg/l and 39.9 microg/l. 5OH-MEHP and 5oxo-MEHP concentrations were highly correlated (r = 0.98). The correlations of 5OH-MEHP and 5oxo-MEHP with MEHP were also high (r = 0.72 and r = 0.70). The concentrations of 5OH-MEHP and 5oxo-MEHP were 8.0-fold and 6.2-fold higher than the concentrations of MEHP. The ratios 5OH-MEHP/Soxo-MEHP and 5oxo-MEHP/MEHP decreased with increasing age. Boys showed higher concentrations than girls for all three metabolites of DEHP in urine. Children aged 13-14 had the lowest mean concentrations of the secondary metabolites in urine. The house dust analyses revealed DEHP contamination of all samples. The GM was 508 mg/kg dust. No correlation could be observed between the levels of any of the urinary DEHP metabolites and those of DEHP in house dust.

                Author and article information

                Environ Health Perspect
                Environmental Health Perspectives
                National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
                October 2005
                1 June 2005
                : 113
                : 10
                : 1399-1404
                [1 ]Swedish National Testing and Research Institute, Borås, Sweden
                [2 ]International Centre for Indoor Environment and Technology, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
                [3 ]Department of Public Health Sciences, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden
                [4 ]Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA
                [5 ]Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to C.-G. Bornehag, Public Health Sciences, Karlstad University, 651 88 Karlstad, Sweden. Telephone: 46-54-700-25-40. Fax: 46-54-700-22-20. E-mail: carl-gustaf.bornehag@kau.se

                The authors declare they have no competing financial interests.

                This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original DOI.
                Children's Health

                Public health

                bbzp, sources, pvc flooring, homes, dehp, dnbp, building characteristics


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