Organophosphorus flame retardants and plasticizers: sources, occurrence, toxicity and human exposure

Environ Pollut. 2015 Jan;196:29-46. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2014.09.012. Epub 2014 Oct 4.


Due to the restricted use and ban of brominated flame retardants, organophosphorus compounds (OPs), extensively used as flame retardants and plasticizers, are ubiquitous in various environmental compartments worldwide. The present study shows that the release of OPs from a wide variety of commercial products and wastewater discharge might be considered as primary emission sources and that high potential of long-range atmospheric transport and persistence of OPs would be responsible for their presence in various matrices on a global scale. The occurrence and environmental behaviors of OPs in diverse matrices (e.g., dust, air, water, sediment, soil and biota) are reviewed. Human exposures to OPs via dermal contact, dust ingestion, inhalation and dietary intake are comprehensively evaluated. Finally, this study identifies gaps in the existing issues and generates a future agenda for the emerging contaminants OPs.

Keywords: Emission sources; Human exposure; Occurrence; Organophosphorus flame retardants and plasticizers; Toxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dust / analysis
  • Environment
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Flame Retardants / analysis*
  • Flame Retardants / toxicity
  • Halogenation
  • Humans
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / analysis*
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / toxicity
  • Plasticizers / analysis*
  • Plasticizers / toxicity


  • Dust
  • Flame Retardants
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Plasticizers