Measurement of polybrominated diphenyl ethers on hand wipes: estimating exposure from hand-to-mouth contact.
Estimates of exposure to the flame-retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in dust are very poor due to limited knowledge about dust ingestion. This study was undertaken to determine if PBDEs could be measured on hand wipes, and if so, to determine the distribution of levels present on the skin surface area to provide preliminary exposure estimates from hand-to-mouth contact. Hand wipes were collected from 33 individuals residing in the United States using sterile gauze pads soaked in isopropyl alcohol. The total PBDE residue collected on the wipes ranged from 2.60 to 1982 ng, with a median value of 130 ng, or normalized to hand surface area, a concentration of 135 pg/cm2. The fully brominated congener, BDE 209, was also detected and ranged from < DL to 270 ng with a median value of 26 ng. Congener patterns observed on the wipes were similar to patterns observed in house dust samples, consisting of congeners associated with the PentaBDE and DecaBDE mixtures, suggesting that the source of PBDEs to the hands may be dust particles. However, PBDE hand residues may also be a result of direct contact with PBDE-laden products, leading to adsorption to the skin surface oils. Repeated wipe sampling from three individuals suggests that sigmaPBDE levels on the hand may be relatively consistent for some individuals but not for others. Furthermore, levels of sigmaPBDEs were greater on the bottom of the hands relative to the top of the hands. Using these values we have calculated potential human exposure from hand-to-mouth contact. The median exposure estimates for children and adults are 1380 and 154 ng/day, respectively, whereas the 95th percentile exposure estimates were 6090 and 677 ng/day, respectively. These estimates are greater than dietary intake rates and suggest hand-to-mouth contact may be a key exposure route for PBDEs.
Stapleton, HM; Kelly, SM; Allen, JG; Mcclean, MD; Webster, TF
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