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Semi-volatile Organic Compounds Distributions in Residential Dust Samples From 5 US Communities: Key Lessons for Improving Residential Exposure Assessment

Adamkiewicz, Gary1; Dodson, Robin1,2; Zota, Ami3; Perovich, Laura2; Brody, Julia3; Rudel, Ruthann3; Spengler, John1

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000392166.33641.22
Abstracts: ISEE 22nd Annual Conference, Seoul, Korea, 28 August–1 September 2010: Environmental Exposures for SVOCs, Human Uptake and Health (ISIAQ Symposium)

1Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; 2Silent Spring Institute, Newton, MA; and 3University of California, San Francisco, CA.

Abstracts published in Epidemiology have been reviewed by the societies at whose meetings the abstracts have been accepted for presentation. These abstracts have not undergone review by the Editorial Board of Epidemiology.


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In addition to uncertainties surrounding health effects, significant gaps remain in our understanding of the dominant sources of exposure to semi-volatile organic compounds. While dietary, occupational, and ambient exposures may contribute, it is known that residential exposures can be dominant for some compounds (eg, polybrominated diphenyl ethers [PBDEs]).

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Settled dust and survey data were collected from approximately 250 households across 5 US communities (Cape Cod and Roxbury, Massachusetts; Richmond and Bolinas, California; and Gadsden County, Florida). These study sites represent various climates and population densities and our study populations varied by ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic composition. Within each home, settled dust samples were collected using modified vacuum cleaners, and analyzed by GC/MS selected-ion monitoring for compounds represented several; key several chemical classes, including phthalates (eg, diethyl phthalate, diisobutyl phthalate), pesticides (eg, permethrin, cypermethrin, and chlorpyrifos), PBDEs (eg, BDE100, BDE47, and BDE99), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (eg, benzo(a)pyrene).

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Comparisons across study sites were suggestive of potential differences in sources. PBDEs were more common in the California communities. Phthalates were widely detected across all study sites, with more than 90% above the method reporting limit for diethyl phthalate and diisobutyl phthalate. In general, the Gadsden County households showed the highest levels of pesticides and the greatest variety in detected analytes. Gadsden county households also showed the lowest detection prevalence for several key polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Household data from each study site will be used to test underlying assumptions about key exposures.

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Within- and between-cohort variations in household concentrations of semi-volatile organic compounds can be used to identify opportunities to improve survey techniques, visual inspections and in-home sampling methodology.

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