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This toxic chemical can lurk in our homes, find new studies • Earth.com



Researchers from Indiana University recently discovered a threatening chemical that may contaminate a large percentage of North American households. ri (2,4-di-t-butylphenyl) phosphate or TDTBPP was found in households, in an electrical waste disposal facility, and in surrounding natural environments. This discovery further proves that there is a blatant chemical mismanagement problem in the United States.

TDTBPP can be absorbed through skin contact and / or inhaled through contaminated dust. The chemical is part of a toxic organophosphate family, but little else is known about the origin or effect of TDTBPP on consumers. Researchers hypothesize that it can be used as a flame retardant or product softener. The chemical could also form if other chemicals degrade over time, or it could even be a contaminant within a related compound.

"We found surprisingly high concentrations of TDTBPP everywhere we looked," said Marta Venier, a scientist at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the lead author of the study. "The fact that this potentially toxic chemical is so abundant but unknown so far is another example of the ineffective management of chemicals in the United States."

It is believed that TDTBPP is just one of many potentially toxic chemicals currently flying under the radar within the United States. Unless used for entirely new purposes, chemicals such as TDTBPP are not adequately covered by U.S. Pat. Toxic Substances Control Act regulated. In addition, information about these chemicals is kept private, making it extremely difficult for scientists to monitor their environmental and biological impacts.

University of Indiana scientists have discovered high concentrations of TDTBPP in dust particles from 20 homes in Ontario. The chemical has also lagged behind in similar chemicals within an e-waste disassembly facility, leading scientists to believe that it is widely used in the production of plastics, cables, circuit boards, and electronics.

"Now that we know that TDTBPP predominates in homes, scientists can label it for further study and focus on understanding the effects of TDTBPP on humans," added Venier.

The full study is published in [

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9659011] Environmental Science & Technology October 30

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