Textile Washing Conveys SVOCs from Indoors to Outdoors: Application and Evaluation of a Residential Multimedia Model

ACS Publications

Indoor environments have elevated concentrations of numerous semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs). Textiles provide a large surface area for accumulating SVOCs, which can be transported to outdoors through washing. A multimedia model was developed to estimate advective transport rates (fluxes) of 14 SVOCs from indoors to outdoors by textile washing, ventilation, and dust removal/disposal. Most predicted concentrations were within 1 order of magnitude of measurements from a study of 26 Canadian homes. Median fluxes to outdoors [μg·(year·home)−1] spanned approximately 4 orders of magnitude across compounds, according to the variability in estimated aggregate emissions to indoor air. These fluxes ranged from 2 (2,4,4′-tribromodiphenyl ether, BDE-28) to 30 200 (diethyl phthalate, DEP) for textile washing, 12 (BDE-28) to 123 200 (DEP) for ventilation, and 0.1 (BDE-28) to 4200 (bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, DEHP) for dust removal. Relative contributions of these pathways to the total flux to outdoors strongly depended on physical–chemical properties. Textile washing contributed 20% tris-(2-chloroisopropyl)phosphate (TCPP) to 62% tris(2-butoxyethyl)phosphate (TBOEP) on average. These results suggest that residential textile washing can be an important transport pathway to outdoors for SVOCs emitted to indoor air, with implications for human and ecological exposure. Interventions should try to balance the complex tradeoff of textile washing by minimizing exposures for both human occupants and aquatic ecosystems.

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