Abstract This paper reports the abundance in indoor air and dust of eleven organophosphate esters and six phthalate esters. Both groups of these semi-volatile compounds are widely incorporated as additives into plastic materials used in the indoor environment, thus contributing to indoor exposure to industrial chemicals. Thirty sampling sites representing three different indoor environments (private homes, day care centers, and workplaces) in the Stockholm area, Sweden, were selected to obtain representative concentration profiles in both ambient air and settled dust. Eight of the target organophosphate esters and all six phthalate esters were found in both air and dust samples at all locations. The phthalate esters were more abundant than the organophosphate esters, typically ten times higher total concentrations. Especially interesting were the high levels of tributoxyethyl phosphate in the day care centers, the relatively high levels of chlorinated organophosphate esters in the air of workplaces and the overall high levels of diethylhexyl phthalate in dust. The air concentration profiles of the phosphate esters differed significantly between the three indoor environments, whereas the concentration profiles of the phthalate esters as well as their total concentrations were similar. The correlation between concentrations found in air and in dust was found to be weak.
Organophosphate esters and phthalate esters are commonly used as additives in numerous building materials and consumer products. The use of these compounds is increasing, and phosphate and phthalate esters are to be regarded as ubiquitous contaminants in the indoor environment. These compounds comprise a number of different compounds that have been associated with biologic effects in animal studies as well as in humans. Thus, it is of concern to increase the knowledge about human exposure of these compounds because of their presence in indoor air. In this paper, thirty indoor environments have been surveyed with respect to seventeen of the most abundant of these compounds.