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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UC Irvine: The Location of Accumulated Dust Influences Concentration of Flame Retardant Chemicals and Potential for Human Exposure

The assumption that individuals spend 24 hours at home laying on the floor is not the best approach to estimate exposure to ubiquitous flame retardant chemicals. A first in the U.S., this study directly compared elevated surface dust and floor dust in a gymnasium, offices, classrooms, laboratories, and a campus transportation bus.


Results of the study, published in the February edition of Environmental Research were based on measurements of 22 flame-retardant chemicals in dust from elevated surfaces and floors in rooms that contain various numbers and sizes of electronic products on a California campus.  Outside the home, most locations have higher concentrations of flame retardant chemicals in elevated surface dust compared to floor dust.

“Our results have important implications for estimating flame retardant chemical exposure,” said Dr. Jaime M. Allgood candidate in the Program in Public Health at UC Irvine and lead author of the study.

The researchers also determined that the concentrations of flame retardant chemicals may be higher in areas with more electronics. However, future studies are needed to confirm this finding.

“We are increasingly dependent on electronic products at home, at work, at play, and while traveling. It is equally important to make these products safe from risks of fire hazards, as it is from toxic chemical exposures,” said Dr. Oladele. A. Ogunseitan, Professor of Public Health at the University of California, Irvine and co-author of this study.

Manuscript authors include Ms. Jaime M. Allgood, Ms. Tamara Jimah, Mr. Ian W. Tang, Dr. Miryha G. Runnerstrom, and Dr. Oladele A. Ogunseitan from the UC Irvine Program in Public Health; Ms. Carolyn M. McClaskey from the Department of Otolaryngology at Medical University of South Carolina; Dr. Mark J. La Guaria from the Department of Aquatic Health Sciences at the College of William and Mary; Ms. Stephanie C. Hammel from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University; and Ms. Maryam M. Zeineddine from the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at UC Berkeley.