Metabolites of organophosphate ester flame retardants in urine from Shanghai, China

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Abstract

The metabolites of nine organophosphate ester (OPE) flame retardants were measured in 180 urine samples collected from a population (including adults and children) in western Shanghai, China, using liquid chromatography-tandem spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The total urinary concentrations of nine OPE metabolites ranged 100–23800 pg/mL, with a geometric mean (GM) value of 1450 pg/mL. The concentrations of alkyl-OPE metabolites (879 pg/mL) were approximately an order of magnitude higher than those of aryl-OPE (53.7 pg/mL) and chlorinated-OPE metabolites (52.7 pg/mL). Diphenyl phosphate (DPHP), diethyl phosphate (DEP), di-n-butyl phosphate (DNBP), bis(2-ethylhexyl) phosphate (BEHP), and bis(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (BBOEP) were the dominant OPE metabolites found in urine. The results showed that an increase in age was associated with a significant decrease in urinary DPHP (r = −0.278, p < 0.01) and DNBP (r = −0.314, p < 0.01) concentrations. The highest concentrations of DPHP (GM = 80.7 pg/mL) and DNBP (GM = 16.9 pg/mL) were found in urine from people living in homes that were less than 10 years old. The urinary DNBP concentration was significantly associated with self-reported symptoms of allergy. Our result establishes baseline value for OPE exposure in a population in China for comparison in future studies.

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