Presence of diphenyl phosphate and aryl-phosphate flame retardants in indoor dust from different microenvironments in Spain and the Netherlands and estimation of human exposure

Environ Int. 2018 Mar;112:59-67. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.11.028. Epub 2017 Dec 18.


Phosphate flame retardants (PFRs) are ubiquitous chemicals in the indoor environment. Diphenyl phosphate (DPHP) is a major metabolite and a common biomarker of aryl-PFRs. Since it is used as a chemical additive and it is a common impurity of aryl-PFRs as well as a degradation product, its presence in indoor dust as an additional source of exposure should not be easily ruled out. In this study, DPHP (and TPHP) are measured in indoor dust in samples collected in Spain and in the Netherlands (n=80). Additionally, the presence of other emerging aryl-PFRs was monitored by target screening. TPHP and DPHP were present in all samples in the ranges 169-142,459ng/g and 106-79,661ng/g, respectively. DPHP concentrations were strongly correlated to the TPHP levels (r=0.90, p<0.01), suggesting that DPHP could be present as degradation product of TPHP or other aryl-PFRs. Estimated exposures for adults and toddlers in Spain to TPHP and DPHP via dust ingestion (country for which the number of samples was higher) were much lower than the estimated reference dose (US EPA) for TPHP. However, other routes of exposure may contribute to the overall internal exposure (diet, dermal contact with dust/consumer products and inhalation of indoor air). The estimated urinary DPHP levels for adults and toddlers in Spain (0.002-0.032ng/mL) as a result of dust ingestion were low in comparison with the reported levels, indicating a low contribution of this source of contamination to the overall DPHP exposure. Other aryl-PFRs, namely cresyl diphenyl phosphate (CDP), resorcinol bis(diphenyl phosphate) (RDP), 2-ethylhexyl diphenyl phosphate (EDPHP), isodecyl diphenyl phosphate (IDP) and bisphenol A bis(diphenyl phosphate) (BDP), were all detected in indoor dust, however, with lower frequency.

Keywords: Aryl-phosphate flame retardants; Diphenyl phosphate; Human exposure; Indoor dust; Triphenyl phosphate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dust / analysis*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Flame Retardants / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Organophosphonates / analysis*
  • Organophosphonates / urine


  • Dust
  • Flame Retardants
  • Organophosphonates