Higher moisture content is associated with greater emissions of DEHP from PVC wallpaper

Water damage and moisture in buildings may become more prevalent due to the increasing frequency of extreme precipitation and flooding events resulting from climate change. However, the effects of moisture levels on phthalate emissions from building materials are still under reported. This study aims to evaluate the effect of moisture content (MC) on the level of di-(2ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) emitted from plastic wallpaper (0.22wt% DEHP) within 15 days in a closed chamber. A scenario of short-term exposure to DEHP in buildings suffering from water damage was simulated. Experiments, controlled at 100% relative humidity (RH) of air and 28°C, were conducted under the following three conditions: (I) without wallpaper (control chamber), (II) dry wallpaper (MC at 3.57%) and (III) damp wallpaper (MC at 52.31%). Air and dust samples were collected at the elapsed time of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13 and 15 days, and the wipe sample was collected on the last day. Higher DEHP concentrations were found to be emitted into the air and adsorbed on the dust for wallpapers with higher MC%. DEHP levels in the air exhibited an increasing trend with the length of the experiment. Overall, it was found that approximately 35.31% more total DEHP mass was released into the air, dust and wipe samples from damp wallpapers compared to dry wallpapers. It is concluded that DEHP emissions from plastic materials are affected by the inner moisture percentage.

Authors: Hsu NY, Liu YC, Lee CW, Lee CC, Su HJ. ;Full Source: Environmental Research. 2016 Oct 10; 152:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.09.027. [Epub ahead of print] ;