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Partitioning of PCBs from air to clothing materials in a Danish apartment

: Morrison, G.C.; Andersen, H.V.; Gunnarsen, L.; Varol, D.; Uhde, E.; Kolarik, B.


Indoor Air 28 (2018), No.1, pp.188-197
ISSN: 0905-6947
ISSN: 1600-0668
Journal Article
Fraunhofer WKI ()
exposure; partition coefficient; polychlorinated biphenyl; semivolatile organic compound; textile

Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination of buildings continues to pose an exposure threat, even decades after their application in the form of calks and other building materials. In this research, we investigate the ability of clothing to sorb PCBs from contaminated air and thereby influence exposure. The equilibrium concentration of PCB-28 and PCB-52 was quantified for nine used clothing fabrics exposed for 56 days to air in a Danish apartment contaminated with PCBs. Fabric materials included pure materials such as cotton and polyester, or blends of polyester, cotton, viscose/rayon, and/or elastane. Air concentrations were fairly stable over the experimental period, with PCB-28 ranging from 350 to 430 ng/m3 and PCB-52 ranging from 460 to 550 ng/m3. Mass accumulated in fabric ranged from below detection limits to 4.5 mg/g of fabric. Cotton or materials containing elastane sorbed more than polyester materials on a mass basis. Mass-normalized partition coefficients a bove detection limits ranged from 105.7 to 107.0 L/kg. Clothing acts as a reservoir for PCBs that extends dermal exposure, even when outside or in uncontaminated buildings.