Silicone wristbands as personal passive samplers: assessing exposure to organophosphate flame retardants
Organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs) are used as additives in a variety of industrial and commercial products, such as furniture and electronics, to meet fire resistance standards. However, OPFRs have been associated with health effects, including neurotoxicity, hormonal changes, and cancer; therefore, insight into levels of exposure is necessary for health and risk assessments. An individual’s exposure to OPFRs can be measured using silicone wristbands as passive samplers, which make use of the tendency for a chemical to equilibrate between the solid phase (the sampler) and air to measure personal exposure to contaminants over time. Because OPFRs are frequently used in electronics, this study aimed to examine correlations between electronic use and personal exposure to OPFRs. Silicone wristbands were cleaned to remove surface contaminants, and then deployed to participants to wear for one week. Following deployment, the adhered compounds were extracted and analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. While deployed, participants filled out a questionnaire indicating their weekly electronic use, which was used to draw correlations between electronics and exposure to OPFRs. The median concentration of OPFRs on wristbands were found to be about 6300ng/wristband, with high variability between individual wristbands. This project will be one of the first in Canada to use silicone wristbands as personal samplers to address exposure to OPFRs in relation to electronic use, and thus will prove useful in risk assessment due to the increasing use of electronics in society.
Presented in absentia on April 27, 2020 at "Student Research Day" at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. (Conference cancelled)
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