Dioxin-like activity in Japanese indoor dusts evaluated by means of in vitro bioassay and instrumental analysis: Brominated dibenzofurans are an important contributor

Suzuki, G.; Someya, M.; Takahashi, S.; Tanabe, S.; Sakai, S.; Takigami, H. (2010) Environmental Science & Technology, 44(21): 8330-8336

In our previous study, we demonstrated that dioxin-like activity in sulfuric-acid-treated extracts of Japanese indoor dust was higher than the activity in contaminated sediments. In the current study, we used high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) fractionation in combination with the dioxin-responsive chemical-activated luciferase gene expression (DR-CALUX) assay and gas chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry (GC-HRMS) to quantitatively evaluate dioxin-like compounds in indoor dusts. Selected four sulfuric-acid-treated extracts of indoor dusts were fractionated into seven fractions by means of HPLC with a nitrophenylpropylsilica column, and the activity in the first fraction of each extract was much higher than the activities in the other fractions. Therefore, each of the first fractions was further fractionated into 90 fractions by HPLC with an octadecylsilica column, and all the fractions were analyzed by means of the DR-CALUX assay. On the basis of elution characteristics, the active compounds in the fractions showing high activity were determined to be polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls (Co-PCBs), and polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs), or supposed to be polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PBDD/Fs). These compounds in the 33 dusts extracts were quantified by means of GC-HRMS, and their median-based contributions of the theoretical CALUX-TEQs [2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,3,7,8-tetraCDD) equivalent] chemically calculated for PBDFs, PCDDs, PCDFs, non-ortho Co-PCBs, PCNs, and mono-ortho Co-PCBs to the experimental values (38−1400 pg/g, median 160 pg/g) were 17%, 14%, 8.8%, 0.98%, 0.10%, and 0.019%, respectively. Our results indicate that PBDFs, which are not internationally regulated dioxins, were important contributors to dioxin-like activity in Japanese dust and that further analysis of PBDFs in indoor dust is required so that the risk of exposure to these compounds via dust can be assessed.