Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 8, pp 7998–8007 | Cite as

Non-PBDE halogenated flame retardants in Canadian indoor house dust: sampling, analysis, and occurrence

  • Xinghua Fan
  • Cariton KubwaboEmail author
  • Pat E. Rasmussen
  • Fang Wu
Research Article


An analytical method was developed for the measurement of 18 novel halogenated flame retardants in house dust. Sample preparation was based on ultrasound-assisted solvent extraction and clean up with solid phase extraction (SPE). Sample extracts were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) operated in electron capture negative ion (ECNI) chemical ionization mode. Baseline data from 351 fresh (active) dust samples collected under the Canadian House Dust Study (CHDS) revealed that five out of 18 target chemicals were present with detection frequencies higher than 90 %. Median (range) concentrations for these five compounds were as follows: 104 (<1.5–13,000) ng/g for 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (EHTBB), 8.5 (<1.7–2390) ng/g for 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTBPE), 10.2 (<1.7–430) ng/g for hexabromobenzene (HBB), 2.9 (<1.2–1410) ng/g for syn-dechlorane plus (syn-DP) and 5.6 (<1.9–1570) ng/g for anti-dechlorane plus (anti-DP). A comparison of two sampling methods in a subset of 40 homes showed significant positive correlations between samples of “active” dust and samples taken directly from the household vacuum cleaner for all target compounds having median values above their corresponding method detection limits (MDLs). In addition, the method was also applied to the analysis of the targeted compounds in National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standard reference material (SRM 2585, organic contaminants in house dust). Results from the current study could contribute to the potential certification of target chemicals in SRM 2585.


Flame retardants Indoor house dust Mass spectrometry Electron capture negative ion chemical ionization Solid phase extraction Sampling techniques SRM 2585 



We thank Christine Levesque for the sample preparation and inventory, Dave Gardner for assistance with statistical analysis, Water and Earth Science Associates Ltd for participant recruitment and vacuum sampling, Dr. Hongtao Shang and Xinlong Xia for technical assistance and discussion, and Angelina Buchar (Existing Substances Risk Assessment Bureau, Health Canada) and Shabana Siddique (Cancer Care Ontario, Canada) for the internal review of the manuscript. This study was jointly funded by Health Canada and the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP), Government of Canada.

Compliance with ethical standards

The Canadian House Dust Study (CHDS) was approved by Health Canada’s Research Ethics Board.

Supplementary material

11356_2015_5956_MOESM1_ESM.docx (430 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 429 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xinghua Fan
    • 1
  • Cariton Kubwabo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pat E. Rasmussen
    • 1
  • Fang Wu
    • 2
  1. 1.Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Environmental Health Science and Research BureauHealth CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Ministry of the Environment of Ontario and Climate ChangeTorontoCanada

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