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Understanding the Emissions of Chemicals from Consumer Products

Challenge

Semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) encompass a broad group of chemicals including flame retardants, plasticizers and stain-resistant fabric treatments, which are added to various consumer products. As part of their Exposure Forecasting (ExpoCast) program, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking to better understand whether exposure to SVOCs from fabrics and other articles of commerce could impact human health.  

Solution

In support of EPA’s efforts, Battelle measured the emission rates of target SVOCs from articles of clothing and upholstery material. In order to accurately quantify the emissions, Battelle developed novel microchamber emission test methods, sample collection and extraction procedures, and analytical techniques. Battelle characterized the emissions of 12 target SVOCs from 17 fabric samples. 

Outcome

The study added quantifiable data for more than 100 chemical-article combinations to EPA’s exposure model database. With these data, EPA will be able to improve the accuracy of estimates of the health risks associated with exposures to SVOCs emitted from consumer products.