Introduction and objective:
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of flame-retarding synthetic compounds. They may cause a potential threat to human health due to their bio-accumulative and toxicological properties, and ubiquitous presence in the environment. Food, and ingested dust constitute principal sources of human exposure to PBDEs. The aim of this study was to assess the potential human exposure to selected polybrominated diphenyl ethers measured in dust found in cars and airplane cabins to characterize the health risk.

Material and methods:
31 samples of car dust and 14 samples of airplane dust were collected and concentrations of BDE-47, BDE-99, BDE-153 and BDE-209 congeners were determined by gas chromatography with micro-electron capture detector (GC-μECD). Exposures were estimated for infants (0–1 year), toddlers (1–3 years) and adults (>18 years). The Hazard Quotients (HQs) were calculated by comparing the estimated exposure values to reference doses (RfD) established by the US EPA.

The study found that BDE-209 levels were much higher in the majority of samples than in the remaining PBDEs The estimated values of average and reasonable maximum exposure (P95) in each age group ranged from <0.001 ng kg-1 b.w. day-1 to 382 ng kg-1 b.w. day -1 and from <0.001 ng kg-1 b.w. day-1 to 1.2 μg kg-1 b.w. day-1, respectively (considering the individual analysed PBDE congeners). Additionally, the exposure of infants and toddlers was estimated using the highest PBDE concentration reported in the study and the maximum daily dust intake values. All the HQ values were lower than 1, in the majority of cases 2 orders of magnitude lower than 1.

The levels of tested PBDE congeners measured both in car and aircraft dust did not indicate health risk for these selected populations resulting from ingestion of dust.

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