Monitoring indoor exposure to organophosphate flame retardants: hand wipes and house dust.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs) are becoming popular replacements for the phased-out polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) mixtures, and they are now commonly detected in indoor environments. However, little is known about human exposure to PFRs because they cannot be easily measured in blood or serum.


To investigate relationships between the home environment and internal exposure, we assessed associations between two PFRs, tris(1,3-dichloropropyl) phosphate (TDCIPP) and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP), in paired hand wipe and dust samples and concentrations of their metabolites in urine samples (n = 53). We also assessed short-term variation in urinary metabolite concentrations (n = 11 participants; n = 49 samples).


Adult volunteers in North Carolina, USA, completed questionnaires and provided urine, hand wipe, and household dust samples. PFRs and PBDEs were measured in hand wipes and dust, and bis(1,3-dichloropropyl) phosphate (BDCIPP) and diphenyl phosphate (DPHP), metabolites of TDCIPP and TPHP, were measured in urine.


TDCIPP and TPHP were detected frequently in hand wipes and dust (> 86.8%), with geometric mean concentrations exceeding those of PBDEs. Unlike PBDEs, dust TDCIPP and TPHP levels were not associated with hand wipes. However, hand wipe levels were associated with urinary metabolites. Participants with the highest hand wipe TPHP mass, for instance, had DPHP levels 2.42 times those of participants with the lowest levels (95% CI: 1.23, 4.77). Women had higher levels of DPHP, but not BDCIPP. BDCIPP and DPHP concentrations were moderately to strongly reliable over 5 consecutive days (intraclass correlation coefficients of 0.81 and 0.51, respectively).


PFR exposures are widespread, and hand-to-mouth contact or dermal absorption may be important pathways of exposure.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hoffman, K; Garantziotis, S; Birnbaum, LS; Stapleton, HM

Published Date

  • February 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 123 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 160 - 165

PubMed ID

  • 25343780

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4314253

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-9924

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0091-6765

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1289/ehp.1408669


  • eng