Brominated flame retardant exposure of aircraft personnel

Chemosphere. 2014 Dec;116:83-90. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.03.073. Epub 2014 Apr 16.

Abstract

The use of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in aircraft is the result of high fire safety demands. Personnel working in or with aircraft might therefore be exposed to several BFRs. Previous studies have reported PBDE exposure in flight attendants and in passengers. One other group that may be subjected to significant BFR exposure via inhalation, are the aircraft maintenance workers. Personnel exposure both during flights and maintenance of aircraft, are investigated in the present study. Several BFRs were present in air and dust sampled during both the exposure scenarios; PBDEs, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD), decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE) and 1,2-bis (2,4,6-tribromophenoxy) ethane. PBDEs were also analyzed in serum from pilots/cabin crew, maintenance workers and from a control group of individuals without any occupational aircraft exposure. Significantly higher concentrations of PBDEs were found in maintenance workers compared to pilots/cabin crew and control subjects with median total PBDE concentrations of 19, 6.8 and 6.6 pmol g(-1) lipids, respectively. Pilots and cabin crew had similar concentrations of most PBDEs as the control group, except for BDE-153 and BDE-154 which were significantly higher. Results indicate higher concentrations among some of the pilots compared to the cabin crew. It is however, evident that the cabin personnel have lower BFR exposures compared to maintenance workers that are exposed to such a degree that their blood levels are significantly different from the control group.

Keywords: Aircraft maintenance workers; BFRs; Cabin crew; Occupational exposure; Pilots.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / blood
  • Aircraft*
  • Dust / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Flame Retardants / analysis*
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / analysis*
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / blood
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Brominated / analysis*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*

Substances

  • Air Pollutants
  • Dust
  • Flame Retardants
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers
  • Hydrocarbons, Brominated
  • hexabromocyclododecane