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Indoor Level of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in the Home Environment and Assessment of Human Health Risks

Category: Air Pollution and Health Effects

Volume: 15 | Issue: 4 | Pages: 1494-1505
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.05.0291
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Cherng-Gueih Shy1,2, Yi-Chyun Hsu 3, Shun-I Shih3, Kuo Pin Chuang4, Chun-Wen Lin5, Chi-Wei Wu1, Chun-Yu Chuang6, How-Ran Chao 1

  • 1 Emerging Compounds Research Center, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, National Pingtung University and Science and Technology, Neipu Township, Pingtung County 912, Taiwan
  • 2 Department of Radiology, Pingtung Christian Hospital, Pingtung City, Pintung 900, Taiwan
  • 3 Department of Environmental Engineering, Kun Shan University, Yung-Kang District, Tainan City 710, Taiwan
  • 4 Graduate Institute of Animal Vaccine Technology, College of Veterinary Medicine, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung County 912, Taiwan
  • 5 Department of Child Care, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung County 912, Taiwan
  • 6 Department of Biomedical Engineering and Environmental Sciences, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu City 300, Taiwan


PBDE concentrations are non-significantly higher indoors than outdoors. 
Levels of airborne PBDEs are lower outside houses than in industrial and urban areas.
Intake of non-dietary PBDEs from house air and dust is highest in toddlers.
The neurobehavioral effects of non-cancer and cancer risk from exposure to PBDEs is low.
Levels of PBDEs in Taiwanese homes are not harmful to anyone regardless of age.


It has been demonstrated that human exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) might be associated with several adverse health effects. Dietary and microenvironmental sources are considered to be the main routes of PBDEs exposure. The study aimed to investigate PBDEs in residential indoor and outdoor air and further to assess the health risks in family members of different ages. Indoor and outdoor air samples from houses in residential areas were simultaneously collected for analysis of BDE-47, 99, 100, 153, 154, 183, 196, 197, 203, 206, 207, 208, and 209 by high-resolution gas chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry. PBDE concentrations were non-significantly higher indoors (81.1 pg/m3) than outdoors (42.7 pg/m3) (p = 0.513). For the outdoor air, the mean PBDE level was lower in air outside houses than in air from industrial and urban areas. Levels of Σ14PBDEs and BDE-209 in house indoor air were no higher in Taiwan than other countries. The daily intake of non-dietary PBDEs from house air and dust in Taiwan was highest in the toddlers (1–2 years old; 8.22 ng/kg b.w./day) and lowest in the male adults (≥ 20 years old; 0.562 ng/kg b.w./day) among family members. For Taiwanese, the risks of non-cancer (hazard quotient: HQ) and cancer (cancer risk: R) with neurobehavioral effects of exposure to non-dietary PBDEs in the home environment were assessed to be lower than the critical values of 1.00 and 1.00 × 10–6 for HQs and Rs, respectively. In conclusion, levels of indoor PBDEs and non-dietary daily intake were found to be low in home environments in Taiwan. This result suggests that PBDEs in the home environment are not harmful to family members from the newborn to the elderly if we only consider the neurobehavioral effects.


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers Indoor air House Daily intake Health risk

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