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, 12 (4), 943-51

Organophosphorus Flame Retardants and Plasticizers in Marine and Fresh Water Biota and in Human Milk


Organophosphorus Flame Retardants and Plasticizers in Marine and Fresh Water Biota and in Human Milk

Anneli Marklund Sundkvist et al. J Environ Monit.


The levels and relative proportions of 11 organophosphorus flame retardants and plasticizers (OPs), some of which are reportedly toxic to aquatic organisms, were investigated in human breast milk and samples of fish and mussels from Swedish lakes and coastal areas in order to assess spatial differences in environmental exposure and spatial and temporal differences in human exposure. Some of the biota samples were collected at locations with known potential sources of OPs, but most were collected in background locations. Tris-2-chloroisopropyl phosphate (TCPP) and triphenyl phosphate (TPP) dominated in the biota with levels ranging from 170 to 770 ng g(-1) for TCPP in perch and between 21 and 180 ng g(-1) for TPP. In milk samples, TCPP (median 45 ng g(-1)) and tributyl phosphate (median 12 ng g(-1)) were the most frequently occurring OPs. Among samples of fish from background locations, the concentrations and profiles of most OPs were quite similar, indicating that their sources were diffuse. However, in fish from sample locations near known sources, there were marked differences in OP concentrations and profiles. Fish from a stream receiving surface water from Arlanda airport displayed high levels of OPs (10 200 ng g(-1)) that are commonly used in aircraft hydraulic fluids. Fish collected at points 1 or 2 km downstream of sewage treatment plants showed significantly higher levels of tris(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBEP), one of the most typically abundant OP in effluents from such plants. In the milk samples obtained from women in different towns no distinct differences were detected in OP concentrations or profiles. However, the levels of TBEP tended to be higher in milk collected 10 years ago than in milk collected more recently. However, human exposure to OPs through eating fish or to breastfeeding babies seems to be of minor importance in relation to other potential sources, such as indoor dust inhalation and ingestion.

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