Flame Resistants Expose Office Workers

Flame Resistants Expose Office Workers

Author: ChemistryViews

Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP) is a flame retardant widely used in upholstered furniture containing polyurethane foam. It is a carcinogen, endocrine disruptor, and potentially neurotoxic.

Courtney C. Carignan, Boston University School of Public Health, MA, USA, and colleagues studied the exposure of adult office workers (n = 29) to TDCPP by measuring its primary metabolite, bis(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (BDCPP), in their urine. They also measured TDCPP in dust from the workers’ homes, offices, and vehicles.

TDCPP was identified in 99 % of dust and BDCPP in 100 % of urine samples. Concentrations of TDCPP were significantly higher in dust from vehicles and offices than in dust from the main living area or bedrooms. Urinary BDCPP concentrations among participants who worked in a new office building were 26 % of those who worked in older buildings. A reason for this might be that the newer furniture did not contain TDCPP, or that it had not yet had sufficient time to migrate out of the products.

Overall the findings suggest that exposure to TDCPP in the work environment is one of the contributors to the personal exposure for office workers. Right now, the researchers say, the best advice is: Wash your hands, clean the dust, use proper ventilation and perhaps filter the air. The study was conducted in the US, but as TDCPP is also produced and used in polyurethane foams in the EU, the results should be transferable.

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