Vinyl flooring in the home is associated with children’s airborne butylbenzyl phthalate and urinary metabolite concentrations

Background: Prior studies have shown that vinyl flooring, as well as the vinyl-softening plasticizers butylbenzyl phthalate (BBzP) and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), are associated with asthma and airway inflammation. While DEHP exposure is primarily dietary, whether home vinyl flooring contributes to indoor air and urinary metabolite concentrations for these two phthalates is unclear.

Methods: Exposures to BBzP and DEHP were examined in a prospective birth cohort of New York City children (n=239) using: (1) visual observation of potential phthalate containing flooring, (2) a two week home indoor air sample, and (3) concurrent urinary metabolites in a subset (n=193).

Results: The category “vinyl or linoleum” flooring was observed in 135 (56%) of monitored rooms; these rooms had statistically significantly higher indoor air geometric mean concentrations of BBzP (23.9 ng/m3 ) than rooms with wood or carpet flooring (10.6 ng/m3). Children from homes with “vinyl or linoleum” flooring also had significantly higher urinary BBzP metabolite concentrations than other children. Indoor air BBzP and urinary metabolite concentrations were correlated positively (Spearman’s rho 0.40). By contrast, indoor air DEHP was not associated with flooring type nor with its urinary metabolite concentrations.

Conclusion: Vinyl flooring in the home may be an important source of children’s exposure to BBzP via indoor air.

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