Atmospheric concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers at near-source sites

Thomas M. Cahill, Danka Groskova, M. Judith Charles, James R. Sanborn, Michael S. Denison, Lynton Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were determined in air samples from near suspected sources, namely an indoors computer laboratory, indoors and outdoors at an electronics recycling facility, and outdoors at an automotive shredding and metal recycling facility. The results showed that (1) PBDE concentrations in the computer laboratory were higher with computers on compared with the computers off, (2) indoor concentrations at an electronics recycling facility were as high as 650 000 pg/ m3 for decabromodiphenyl ether (PBDE 209), and (3) PBDE 209 concentrations were up to 1900 pg/m3 at the downwind fenceline at an automotive shredding/metal recycling facility. The inhalation exposure estimates for all the sites were typically below 110 pg/kg/day with the exception of the indoor air samples adjacent to the electronics shredding equipment, which gave exposure estimates upward of 40 000 pg/kg/day. Although there were elevated inhalation exposures at the three source sites, the exposure was not expected to cause adverse health effects based on the lowest reference dose (RfD) currently in the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), although these RfD values are currently being re-evaluated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More research is needed on the potential health effects of PBDEs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6370-6377
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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