Occurrence of novel organophosphate esters derived from organophosphite antioxidants in an e-waste dismantling area: Associations between hand wipes and dust

Environ Int. 2021 Dec;157:106860. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106860. Epub 2021 Sep 6.


Electronic waste (e-waste) is a well-known source of plastic additives in the environment. However, the e-waste-related occupational exposure to organophosphite antioxidants (OPAs) and the relevant oxidation products-novel organophosphate esters (NOPEs)-via different pathways is still unknown. In this study, six OPAs and three NOPEs were measured in 116 dust and 43 hand-wipe samples from an e-waste dismantling area in Central China. The median concentrations of ΣOPAs and ΣNOPEs were 188 and 13,900 ng·g-1 in workshop dust and 5,250 ng·m-2 and 53,600 ng·m-2 on workers' hands, respectively. The increasing concentrations of dust in the form of triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) (p < 0.01) and tris(2,4-di-tert-butylphenyl) phosphate (AO168 = O) (p < 0.05) were strongly associated with the corresponding concentration on workers' hands. Furthermore, men had significantly lower levels of NOPEs on their hands than did women (p < 0.01). Moreover, the hand wipe levels of AO168 = O (41,600 ng·m-2) was significantly higher than that of the typical OPE (TPHP, 7370 ng·m-2), and the hand-to-mouth contact (ΣOPAs, 9.48 ng·kg bw-1·day-1; ΣNOPEs, 109 ng·kg bw-1·day-1) was a more significant and integrated pathway than dust ingestion (ΣOPAs, 0.10 ng·kg bw-1·day-1; ΣNOPEs, 5.01 ng·kg bw-1·day-1) of e-waste related occupational exposure to these "new" chemicals.

Keywords: Dust ingestion; Hand-to-mouth contact; Linear regression analysis; NOPEs; OPAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants
  • China
  • Dust / analysis
  • Electronic Waste*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Esters / analysis
  • Female
  • Flame Retardants* / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organophosphates / analysis


  • Antioxidants
  • Dust
  • Esters
  • Flame Retardants
  • Organophosphates