High Exposure to Organophosphate Flame Retardants in Infants: Associations with Baby Products

Kate Hoffman, Craig M. Butt, Albert Chen, Alexander T. Limkakeng, Heather M. Stapleton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Infant products containing polyurethane foam are commonly treated with organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs), including tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCIPP) and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP). Infants may have greater exposure due to greater contact with these products, yet little is known about levels of exposure or the factors contributing to higher exposure. We recruited children age 2-18 months from North Carolina to investigate PFR exposure (n = 43; recruited 2014-2015). Parents provided information on potential sources and modifiers of exposure, and reported whether they owned common infant products. We measured five PFR metabolites in urine samples collected from children. TDCIPP and TPHP metabolites (bis(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (BDCIPP) and diphenyl phosphate (DPHP)) were most commonly detected (>93% detect). Other metabolites were detected infrequently (<35% detect). Although we did not observe a clear age trend for infants, BDCIPP levels were substantially higher than those reported for adults (geometric mean = 7.3 ng/mL). The number of infant products owned was strongly associated with BDCIPP; children with >16 products had BDCIPP levels that were 6.8 times those with <13 (p = 0.02). Infants attending daycare centers also had higher BDCIPP levels (3.7 times those of others; p = 0.07), suggesting time spent in this microenvironment contributes to higher exposure. In contrast, DPHP levels were not related to products owned, time in different microenvironments, or behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14554-14559
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


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