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Exposure to flame retardant chemicals on commercial airplanes.

Publication ,  Journal Article
Allen, JG; Stapleton, HM; Vallarino, J; McNeely, E; McClean, MD; Harrad, SJ; Rauert, CB; Spengler, JD
Published in: Environmental health : a global access science source
February 2013

Flame retardant chemicals are used in materials on airplanes to slow the propagation of fire. These chemicals migrate from their source products and can be found in the dust of airplanes, creating the potential for exposure.To characterize exposure to flame retardant chemicals in airplane dust, we collected dust samples from locations inside 19 commercial airplanes parked overnight at airport gates. In addition, hand-wipe samples were also collected from 9 flight attendants and 1 passenger who had just taken a cross-country (USA) flight. The samples were analyzed for a suite of flame retardant chemicals. To identify the possible sources for the brominated flame retardants, we used a portable XRF analyzer to quantify bromine concentrations in materials inside the airplanes.A wide range of flame retardant compounds were detected in 100% of the dust samples collected from airplanes, including BDEs 47, 99, 153, 183 and 209, tris(1,3-dichloro-isopropyl)phosphate (TDCPP), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and bis-(2-ethylhexyl)-tetrabromo-phthalate (TBPH). Airplane dust contained elevated concentrations of BDE 209 (GM: 500 ug/g; range: 2,600 ug/g) relative to other indoor environments, such as residential and commercial buildings, and the hands of participants after a cross-country flight contained elevated BDE 209 concentrations relative to the general population. TDCPP, a known carcinogen that was removed from use in children's pajamas in the 1970's although still used today in other consumer products, was detected on 100% of airplanes in concentrations similar to those found in residential and commercial locations.This study adds to the limited body of knowledge regarding exposure to flame retardants on commercial aircraft, an environment long hypothesized to be at risk for maximum exposures due to strict flame retardant standards for aircraft materials. Our findings indicate that flame retardants are widely used in many airplane components and all airplane types, as expected. Most flame retardants, including TDCPP, were detected in 100% of dust samples collected from the airplanes. The concentrations of BDE 209 were elevated by orders of magnitude relative to residential and office environments.

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Published In

Environmental health : a global access science source

DOI

EISSN

1476-069X

ISSN

1476-069X

Publication Date

February 2013

Volume

12

Start / End Page

17

Related Subject Headings

  • Toxicology
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Humans
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Flame Retardants
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Dust
 

Citation

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Allen, J. G., Stapleton, H. M., Vallarino, J., McNeely, E., McClean, M. D., Harrad, S. J., … Spengler, J. D. (2013). Exposure to flame retardant chemicals on commercial airplanes. Environmental Health : A Global Access Science Source, 12, 17. https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-069x-12-17
Allen, Joseph G., Heather M. Stapleton, Jose Vallarino, Eileen McNeely, Michael D. McClean, Stuart J. Harrad, Cassandra B. Rauert, and John D. Spengler. “Exposure to flame retardant chemicals on commercial airplanes.Environmental Health : A Global Access Science Source 12 (February 2013): 17. https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-069x-12-17.
Allen JG, Stapleton HM, Vallarino J, McNeely E, McClean MD, Harrad SJ, et al. Exposure to flame retardant chemicals on commercial airplanes. Environmental health : a global access science source. 2013 Feb;12:17.
Allen, Joseph G., et al. “Exposure to flame retardant chemicals on commercial airplanes.Environmental Health : A Global Access Science Source, vol. 12, Feb. 2013, p. 17. Epmc, doi:10.1186/1476-069x-12-17.
Allen JG, Stapleton HM, Vallarino J, McNeely E, McClean MD, Harrad SJ, Rauert CB, Spengler JD. Exposure to flame retardant chemicals on commercial airplanes. Environmental health : a global access science source. 2013 Feb;12:17.
Journal cover image

Published In

Environmental health : a global access science source

DOI

EISSN

1476-069X

ISSN

1476-069X

Publication Date

February 2013

Volume

12

Start / End Page

17

Related Subject Headings

  • Toxicology
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Humans
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Flame Retardants
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Dust