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Vinyl flooring in the home is associated with children’s airborne butylbenzyl phthalate and urinary metabolite concentrations


Prior studies have shown that vinyl flooring as well as the vinyl-softening plasticizers butylbenzyl phthalate (BBzP) and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) are associated with asthma and airway inflammation. Although DEHP exposure is primarily dietary, whether home vinyl flooring contributes to indoor air and urinary metabolite concentrations for these two phthalates is unclear. Exposures to BBzP and DEHP were examined in a prospective birth cohort of New York City children (n=239) using: (i) visual observation of potential phthalate containing flooring, (ii) a 2-week home indoor air sample, and (iii) concurrent urinary metabolites in a subset (n=193). The category “vinyl or linoleum” flooring was observed in 135 (56%) of monitored rooms; these rooms had statistically significantly higher indoor air geometric mean concentrations of BBzP (23.9 ng/m3) than rooms with wood or carpet flooring (10.6 ng/m3). Children from homes with “vinyl or linoleum” flooring also had significantly higher urinary BBzP metabolite concentrations than other children. Indoor air BBzP and urinary metabolite concentrations were correlated positively (Spearman’s rho 0.40). By contrast, indoor air DEHP was not associated with flooring type nor with its urinary metabolite concentrations. Vinyl flooring in the home may be an important source of children’s exposure to BBzP via indoor air.

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Supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences grants R01 ES014393, R01 ES013163, P01 ES09600, R01 ES008977, P30 ES009089, T32 ES007069 and K99 ES023450; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants R827027, RD832141, RD834509, and EPA STAR graduate fellowship FP-91712001 (ACJ); the John and Wendy Neu Family Foundation; Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund; and the New York Community Trust. We gratefully acknowledge the technical assistance of M. Silva, E. Samandar, J. Preau, and L. Jia in measuring the urinary concentrations of phthalate metabolites.

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Correspondence to Allan C Just.

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The findings and conclusions in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Just, A., Miller, R., Perzanowski, M. et al. Vinyl flooring in the home is associated with children’s airborne butylbenzyl phthalate and urinary metabolite concentrations. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 25, 574–579 (2015).

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  • indoor air
  • phthalates
  • urine
  • vinyl flooring

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