Organophosphate ester flame retardants and plasticizers in a Chinese population: Significance of hydroxylated metabolites and implication for human exposure.


MOE Key Laboratory of Pollution Processes and Environmental Criteria, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nankai University, Tianjin 300350, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Organophosphate esters (OPEs) are widely used as flame retardants, plasticizers and defoamers and their exposure are likely associated with a number of adverse effects in humans. In this study, tris(chloroethyl) phosphate and thirteen OPE metabolites including six hydroxylated OPEs (HO-OPEs) were analyzed in 46 urine samples, collected from 8 provinces located across different regions in China. 1-Hydroxy-2-propyl bis(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (BCIPHIPP) and 2-hydroxyethyl bis(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (BBOEHEP) were major metabolites of their parent compounds with detection frequencies of 54.3%-89.1%, which were all higher than their corresponding OPE diesters (2.2%-6.5%). The urine-based estimated daily intake (EDI) of OPEs ranged from 0.06 ng/kg·bw for tris(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBOEP) to 273 ng/kg·bw for 2-ethylhexyl phenyl phosphate. Analyzed with concentrations in paired dust samples, dust exposure to OPEs and their diesters may explain 0.28%-23.8% of the urine-based EDI of OPEs and the contribution of dust TBOEP was the highest. Although direct exposure to OPE diesters in dust showed a minor contribution, their intake via food and drinking water may account for a larger portion of urinary OPE metabolites. Overall, the hazard quotients of four OPEs indicated no immediate exposure risk for the investigated Chinese residents but the cumulative and long-term chronic effects involving exposure to other OPEs and OPE diesters are worth further concerns.


Estimated daily intake,Hydroxylated OPE metabolites,OPE diester exposure,Organophosphate esters (OPEs),Urine,

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