Exposure to air pollution associated with poor bone health
Knowing its use is still widespread in cars, Volz wondered whether a person's exposure is elevated based on their commute. UC Riverside undergraduates made for excellent study subjects, as a majority of them have a daily commute.
The research team included collaborators at Duke University and was funded by the National Institutes of Health as well as the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Participants included around 90 students, each of whom had commute times that varied from less than 15 minutes to more than two hours round trip. All of them were given silicone wristbands to wear continuously for five days.
The molecular structure of silicone makes it ideal for capturing airborne contaminants. Since TDCIPP isn't chemically bound to the foam, Aalekyha Reddam, a graduate student in the Volz laboratory, said it gets forced out over time and ends up in dust that gets inhaled.
Multiple organophosphate esters were tested, but TDCIPP was the only one that showed a strong positive association with commute time.
"Your exposure to TDCIPP is higher the longer you spend in your vehicle," Reddam said.
While Volz and his team did not collect urine samples to verify that the chemical migrated into the bodies of the participants, they believe that's what happened.
"We presume it did because of how difficult it is to avoid the ingestion and inhalation of dust," Volz said. Additionally, other studies have examined the accumulation of TDCIPP in urine, but not as a function of how long a person sits in a car.
Going forward, the research team would like to repeat the study with a larger group of people whose ages are more varied. They would also like to study ways to protect commuters from this and other toxic compounds.
Until more specific reduction methods can be identified, the team encourages frequently dusting the inside of vehicles, and following U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for reducing exposure to contaminants.
Until safer alternatives are identified, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of TDCIPP on commuters.
"If we picked up this relationship in five days, what does that mean for chronic, long-term exposure, for people who commute most weeks out of the year, year over year for decades?" Volz asked. Source:
University of California - Riverside Journal reference:
Reddam, A., et al. (2020) Longer commutes are associated with increased human exposure to tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate. Environment International . doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.105499 .
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