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Dermal bioaccessibility of flame retardants from indoor dust and the influence of topically applied cosmetics


Despite extensive literature on their potential adverse health effects, there is a lack of information on human dermal exposure to organic flame retardant chemicals (FRs). This study applies an in vitro physiologically based extraction test to provide new insights into the dermal bioaccessibility of various FRs from indoor dust to synthetic sweat/sebum mixture (SSSM). The bioaccessible fractions of α-, β- and γ-hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) to 1:1 (sweat/sebum) mixture were 41%, 47%, 50% and 40%, respectively. For Tris-2-chloroethyl phosphate (TCEP), tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCIPP) and tris-1,3-dichloropropyl phosphate (TDCIPP), bioaccessible fractions were 10%, 17% and 19%. Composition of the SSSM and compound-specific physicochemical properties were the major factors influencing the bioaccessibility of target FRs. Except for TBBPA, the presence of cosmetics (moisturising cream, sunscreen lotion, body spray and shower gel) had a significant effect (P<0.05) on the bioaccessibility of the studied FRs. The presence of cosmetics decreased the bioaccessibility of HBCDs from indoor dust, whereas shower gel and sunscreen lotion enhanced the bioaccessibility of target PFRs. Our bioaccessibility data were applied to estimate the internal exposure of UK adults and toddlers to the target FRs via dermal contact with dust. Our worst-case scenario exposure estimates fell far below available health-based limit values for TCEP, TCIPP and TDCIPP. However, future research may erode the margin of safety for these chemicals.

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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under Grant Agreement No. 316665 (A-TEAM) and Grant Agreement No. 327232 (ADAPT). E Villaverde de Sáa also acknowledges funding from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (FPI Grant BES-2011-047887).

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Correspondence to Stuart Harrad.

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Supplementary Information accompanies the paper on the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology website

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Pawar, G., Abdallah, ME., de Sáa, E. et al. Dermal bioaccessibility of flame retardants from indoor dust and the influence of topically applied cosmetics. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 27, 100–105 (2017).

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  • BFRs
  • bioaccessibility
  • cosmetics
  • dermal exposure
  • indoor dust
  • PFRs

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