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Levels of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in Air-Conditioner Filter Dust Used to Assess Health Risks in Clinic and Electronic Plant Employees

Category: Air Pollution and Health Effects

Volume: 16 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 184-194
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.09.0541
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Hui-Ming Chou1, Cheng-Chih Kao2, Kuo Pin Chuang3, Chieh Lin1, Cherng-Gueih Shy4, Rong-Fu Chen5, Chih-Chung Tsai6, Chun-Yu Chuang7, Ying-Chieh Cheng8, Chih-Cheng Chen9, How-Ran Chao 1

  • 1 Emerging Compounds Research Center, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, National Pingtung University and Science and Technology, Neipu, Pingtung County 912, Taiwan
  • 2 Health Center, Pingtung Christian Hospital, Pingtung County 900, Taiwan
  • 3 Graduate Institute of Animal Vaccine Technology, College of Veterinary Medicine, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Neipu, Pingtung County 912, Taiwan
  • 4 Department of Radiology, Pingtung Christian Hospital, Pingtung City, Pintung 900, Taiwan
  • 5 Research Assistance Center, Show Chwan Memorial Hospital, Changhou City, Changhou County 500, Taiwan
  • 6 Graduate Institute of Science Education and Environmental Education, National Kaohsiung Normal University, Yan-Chou District, Kaohsiung City 824, Taiwan
  • 7 Department of Biomedical Engineering and Environmental Sciences, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu City 300, Taiwan
  • 8 Ping Tung County Medical Association, Pingtung City, Pingtung County 900, Taiwan
  • 9 Department of Pediatrics, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan


PBDEs levels were analyzed in workplace air-conditioner filter dust.
This was used to determine exposure levels in workplaces like clinics and offices.
PBDE levels were extremely high in the electronic factory clean rooms.
Exposure levels did not induced the health risks in clinic and office workers.
Air filter dust can represent the spatial and temporal distribution of dust indoors.
PBDEs filter dust sampling may be an alternative to settled dust sampling methods.


Because consumer products release them, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are frequently present in a variety of indoor environments including homes and workplaces. Our goal was to investigate PBDEs contamination of workplace air-conditioner filter dust to assess the health effects of contaminated dust on workers with occupational exposure. Nine medical clinics, four dental clinics, eight factory offices, and six factory clean rooms were selected in southern Taiwan between April 2013 and September 2014. Air-conditioner-filter dust was collected by a high-efficiency vacuum cleaner and then PBDEs were analyzed by a high-resolution gas chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry. The Σ14PBDEs (the sum of BDE-28, 47, 99, 100, 153, 154, 183, 196, 197, 203, 206, 207, 208, and 209) in independent-air-conditioner filter (IAF) dust was not significantly lower in dental clinics (736 ng g–1) than in medical clinics (1600 ng g–1) and electronic plant offices (2570 ng g–1). PBDEs level was distinctly higher by an order of magnitude in central-air-conditioner system filter (CASF) dust in clean rooms (32,600 ng g–1), than in IAF dust. In clinic and the office workers, PBDEs daily intake via indoor dust ingestion varied from 2.96 × 10–8 to 1.25 × 10–7 mg kg b.w.–1 day–1 (29.6–125 ng kg b.w.–1 day–1), which was obviously below the lowest observed adverse effect of level (LOAEL) of 1 mg kg b.w.–1 day–1. Assessment of the risk of non-cancer diseases with neurobehavioral effects and of cancer with neurobehavioral effects in clinic and office workers was notably below threshold values (non-cancer: 1.00 and cancer: 1.00 × 10–6). In conclusion, clinic and office workers had no harmful effects in the currently existing levels of indoor dust PBDEs in workplaces. IAF or CSAF dust can possibly reflect spatial and temporal dust distribution in the microenvironment. It is also suggested that collection of air-conditioner filter dust may be an alternative method to conventional dust sampling for assessment of indoor contamination by PBDEs.


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers Air-conditioner filter Indoor dust Clinics Offices Health risk

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