Online Program

Examining exposure of office workers to airborne polybrominated diphenyl ethers

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kristy A. Siegel, MPH, CPH, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL
Foday Jaward, PhD, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), a flame retardant, are widespread in home and office consumer goods, electronics, furnishings, and textiles, and may pose health risks including developmental and nervous system toxicity, as well as mimicry of estrogen and interference with thyroid function. PBDE exposure is through degradation of these products in the home, office, and school. The exposure may be higher for some due to occupational settings. The purpose of this study is to examine exposure of airborne PBDEs in clerical occupational settings compared to outdoor samples, as well as seasonal variations. Over a one year period, passive air samplers were deployed both indoor and outdoor at two university campuses in the Tampa Bay area in three 12-week campaigns (Summer, Winter, and Spring). Indoor air concentrations of all 8 congeners of interest averaged 113.07 pg/m3, whereas outdoor air averaged 65.26 pg/m3. T-test results showed higher average indoor concentrations for BDE17 (p<.001), BDE28 (p<.001), BDE47 (p<.001), and BDE100 (p=.034), and higher average outdoor concentrations for BDE209 (p=.046). Indoor seasonal variation was found between Summer and Spring (p=.006) for the total sum of PBDEs, as well as for some individual congeners. Only outdoor BDE100 was significant between Spring and Winter (p=.039). Results indicate that an overall greater PBDE burden may exist in clerical occupational settings than in the surrounding outdoor air. Due to the length of exposure in a work day, it may be important to encourage institutions and state and local agencies to buy PBDE-free products to reduce the risk to employees.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe the risk of exposure to airborne polybrominated diphenyl ethers.

Keyword(s): Indoor Environment, Chemical Analyses

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a doctoral candidate, I was a part of the sampling, extraction, and analysis. I have been studying and researching indoor air issues for over ten years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3264.1: Chemicals & toxic substances