Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 92, Issue 9, pp 2749–2778 | Cite as

Recent biomonitoring reports on phosphate ester flame retardants: a short review

  • Anne-Marie SaillenfaitEmail author
  • Sophie Ndaw
  • Alain Robert
  • Jean-Philippe Sabaté
Review Article


Organophosphate triesters (PEFRs) are used increasingly as flame retardants and plasticizers in a variety of applications, such as building materials, textiles, and electric and electronic equipment. They have been proposed as alternatives to brominated flame retardants. This updated review shows that biomonitoring has gained incrementally greater importance in evaluating human exposure to PEFRs, and it holds the advantage of taking into account the multiple potential sources and various intake pathways of PEFRs. Simultaneous and extensive internal exposure to a broad range of PEFRs have been reported worldwide. Their metabolites, mainly dialkyl or diaryl diesters, have been used as biomarkers of exposure and have been ubiquitously detected in the urine of adults and children in the general population. Concentrations and profiles of PEFR urinary metabolites are seen to be variable and are highly dependent on individual and environmental factors, including age, country regulation of flame retardants, and types and quantities of emissions in microenvironments, as well as analytical procedures. Additional large biomonitoring studies, using a broad range of urinary diesters and hydroxylated metabolites, would be useful to improve the validity of the biomarkers and to refine assessments of human exposure to PEFRs.


Flame retardant Organophosphates Exposure assessment Human biomonitoring Health 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

204_2018_2275_MOESM1_ESM.docx (90 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 89 KB)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut National de Recherche et de SécuritéVandoeuvre CedexFrance

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