Distribution patterns of brominated, chlorinated, and phosphorus flame retardants with particle size in indoor and outdoor dust and implications for human exposure.
Dust samples were collected in Beijing, China, from four different indoor microenvironments (office, hotel, kindergarten, and student dormitory) and one outdoor (road dust) microenvironment. These five composite samples were fractionated into 13 sequential size fractions and an individual fraction of <50 ?m for further analysis. In the fractions of <50 ?m, nine phosphorus flame retardants (?PFRs), four novel brominated flame retardants (?NBFRs), and two Dechlorane Plus isomers (DPs) showed the highest concentrations in hotel dust (124,000 ng g(-1)), dormitory dust (14,200 ng g(-1)), and kindergarten dust (231 ng g(-1)), respectively. Nevertheless, nine polybrominated diphenyl ethers (?PBDEs) were the dominant flame retardants (FRs) (96% of total FRs) in road dust, with the maximum concentration of 23,700 ng g(-1), higher than in any indoor dust. The FR contamination varied strongly among different types of microenvironments, leading to high human exposure to various FRs. Concentrations of FRs did not increase constantly with a particle size decrease. Fractions with a particle size around 900, 100, and 10 ?m could represent peak values, while valley values were commonly detected around fractions with a particle size around 40 ?m. Large differences were found between indoor dust and road dust. In road dust, FRs were mainly enriched in fractions of <50 ?m. The organic content of dust, FR application, and consequent abrasion processes of FR-containing materials might be the determinants of the FR concentrations. Volatilization and abrasion were considered to be important migration pathways for FRs. DPs and BDE-209 were sought to be mainly applied in abrasion-proof materials, while most phosphorus flame retardants (PFRs) were probably added in a large proportion in materials easy to wear.