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Determination of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in Indoor Dust Standard Reference Materials



H M. Stapleton, T. Harner, M. Shoeib, Jennifer M. Lynch, Michele M. Schantz, Stefan D. Leigh, Stephen A. Wise


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been measured for the first time in three different indoor dust Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) prepared by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Two of these SRMs (2583 and 2584) have been certified previously for lead and other inorganic constituents. A third SRM (2585) is a new indoor dust reference material prepared by NIST which will be certified for organic compounds (i.e., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls) in 2005. Certified concentrations are available for 16 individual PBDE congeners and reference values are available for an additional 3 PBDE congeners in the most recent SRM (2585). Dust SRMs were measured for 30 PBDE congeners using high resolution gas chromatography combined with low resolution mass spectrometry operated in both negative chemical ionization (GC/NCI-MS) and electron impact ionization (GC/EI-MS). Sensitivity was an order of magnitude higher using GC/NCI-MS relative to GC/EI-MS. However, results demonstrated that GC/NCI-MS can often lead to misidentification of some PBDE congeners, i.e.,BDE 155 (2,2 ,4,4 ,6,6 -hexabromodiphenyl ether) can be mistaken for BDE 85 (2,2 ,3,4,4 -pentabromodiphenyl ether). Shorter columns, which are required to quantify BDE 209 (2,2 ,3,3 ,4,4 ,5,5 ,6,6 -decabromodiphenyl ether), do not completely resolve some BDE congeners, i.e., BDE 49 (2,2 ,4,5 -tetrabromodiphenyl ether) elutes close to BDE 71 (2,3 ,4 ,6-tetrabromodiphenyl ether) and they can be mistaken for each other. These SRMs have been characterized and compared to the three PBDE commercial products (i.e., pentaBDE, octaBDE and decaBDE). PentaBDE and DecaBDE were present in all three SRMs and were the dominant commercial products making up approximately 33% and 58%, respectively. Studies are beginning to suggest that house dust may be a leading source of exposure to PBDEs in people. These SRMs will aid in validating future measurements of PBDEs in house dust.
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry


flame retardants, house dust, PBDEs, reference materials


Stapleton, H. , Harner, T. , Shoeib, M. , Lynch, J. , Schantz, M. , Leigh, S. and Wise, S. (2006), Determination of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in Indoor Dust Standard Reference Materials, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (Accessed July 25, 2024)


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Created February 1, 2006, Updated February 19, 2017