Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Semivolatile Organic Compounds in Homes: Strategies for Efficient and Systematic Exposure Measurement Based on Empirical and Theoretical Factors

Published Web Location

Residential exposure can dominate total exposure for commercial chemicals of health concern; however, despite the importance of consumer exposures, methods for estimating household exposures remain limited. We collected house dust and indoor air samples in 49 California homes and analyzed for 76 semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs)--phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and pesticides. Sixty chemicals were detected in either dust or air and here we report 58 SVOCs detected in dust for the first time. In dust, phthalates (bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, benzyl butyl phthalate, di-n-butyl phthalate) and flame retardants (PBDE 99, PBDE 47) were detected at the highest concentrations relative to other chemicals at the 95th percentile, while phthalates were highest at the median. Because SVOCs are found in both gas and condensed phases and redistribute from their original source over time, partitioning models can clarify their fate indoors. We use empirical data to validate air-dust partitioning models and use these results, combined with experience in SVOC exposure assessment, to recommend residential exposure measurement strategies. We can predict dust concentrations reasonably well from measured air concentrations (R(2) = 0.80). Partitioning models and knowledge of chemical Koa elucidate exposure pathways and suggest priorities for chemical regulation. These findings also inform study design by allowing researchers to select sampling approaches optimized for their chemicals of interest and study goals. While surface wipes are commonly used in epidemiology studies because of ease of implementation, passive air sampling may be more standardized between homes and also relatively simple to deploy. Validation of passive air sampling methods for SVOCs is a priority.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View