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Semivolatile Endocrine-Disrupting Compounds in Paired Indoor and Outdoor Air in Two Northern California Communities

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Interest in the health effects of potential endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) that are high production volume chemicals used in consumer products has made exposure assessment and source identification a priority. We collected paired indoor and outdoor air samples in 40 nonsmoking homes in urban, industrial Richmond, CA, and 10 in rural Bolinas, CA. Samples were analyzed by GC-MS for 104 analytes, including phthalates (11), alkylphenols (3), parabens (3), polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants (3), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (24), pesticides (38), and phenolic compounds (19). We detected 39 analytes in outdoor air and 63 in indoor air. For many of the phenolic compounds, alkylphenols, phthalates, and PBDEs, these represent some of the first outdoor measures and the first analysis of the relative importance of indoor and outdoor sources in paired samples. Data demonstrate higher indoor concentrations for 32 analytes, suggesting primarily indoor sources, as compared with only 2 that were higher outdoors. Outdoor air concentrations were higher in Richmond than Bolinas for 3 phthalates, 10 PAHs, and o-phenylphenol, while indoor air levels were more similar between communities, except that differences observed outdoors were also seen indoors. Indoor concentrations of the most ubiquitous chemicals were generally correlated with each other (4-t-butylphenol, o-phenylphenol, nonylphenol, several phthalates, and methyl phenanthrenes; Kendall correlation coefficients 0.2-0.6, p<0.05), indicating possible shared sources and highlighting the importance of considering mixtures in health studies.

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