Associations of phthalate concentrations in floor dust and multi-surface dust with the interior materials in Japanese dwellings

Sci Total Environ. 2014 Jan 15;468-469:147-57. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.07.107. Epub 2013 Sep 4.


Phthalates are widely used as plasticizers in numerous products. However, there has been some concern about the various effects they may have on human health. Thus, household phthalate levels are an important public health issue. While many studies have assessed phthalate levels in house dust, the association of these levels with building characteristics has scarcely been examined. The present study investigated phthalate levels in house dust samples collected from the living areas of homes, and examined associations between these phthalate levels and the interior materials. Dust was collected from two portions of the living area: floor dust from the entire floor surface, and multi-surface dust from objects more than 35 cm above the floor. The levels of seven phthalates were measured using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry in selective ion monitoring mode. Phthalate levels were higher in multi-surface dust than in floor dust. Among floor dust samples, those from dwellings with compressed wooden flooring had significantly higher levels of di-iso-butyl phthalate compared to those with other floor materials, while polyvinyl chloride (PVC) flooring was associated with higher di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) levels. Among multi-surface dust samples, higher levels of DEHP and di-iso-nonyl phthalate (DINP) were found in samples from homes with PVC wallpaper than without. The number of PVC interior materials was significantly positively correlated with the levels of DEHP and DINP in multi-surface dust. The phthalate levels in multi-surface dust were associated with the interior surface materials, and those in floor dust were directly related to the flooring materials. Our findings show that when using house dust as an exposure assessment, it is very important to note where the samples were collected from. The present report provides useful information about the association between phthalates and dust inside dwellings, which will assist with establishing public health provisions.

Keywords: BBzP; BHT; DBP; DEHA; DEHP; DEP; DINP; DMP; DiBP; DnBP; House dust; Interior materials; LOD; LSM; PVC; Phthalates; SVOC; benzyl butyl phthalate; di-(2-ethylhexyl) adipate; di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate; di-iso-butyl phthalate; di-iso-nonyl phthalate; di-n-butyl phthalate; dibutyl phthalate; dibutylhydroxytoluen; diethyl phthalate; dimethyl phthalate; least square mean; limit of detection; polyvinyl chloride; semi-volatile organic compounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dust / analysis*
  • Floors and Floorcoverings / statistics & numerical data
  • Housing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Phthalic Acids / analysis*
  • Polyvinyl Chloride
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Dust
  • Phthalic Acids
  • Polyvinyl Chloride