Survey of chemical substances in consumer products No. 145, 2016

Survey and risk assessment of toluene and other neurotoxic substances in children’s rooms


The purpose of the project was to investigate whether exposure to toluene and other neurotoxic substances can be problematic for children's health. This was assessed in relation to the exposure that children will be subjected to in a typical children´s room, and also taking into account the exposure from other sources.

Based on knowledge from literature a number of products that were most likely to contain the relevant substances were identified. The measured concentrations of the substances were generally low from the analyses in small and large scale climate chambers. To confirm or reject the relatively low exposure levels found, follow-up measurements of the neurotoxic substances were carried out in 19 children´s rooms in private homes. In general, the measured concentrations were in accordance with results from the climate chambers. However, there were a few children´s room, where concentrations were either at level with the highest emission measurements or even higher. For these children´s rooms, renovating activities taking place in the house, glue and paint for the construction of aircraft models, and the presence of many plastic and rubber figures were identified as the possible significant sources. There was one child room with highly elevated concentrations of several chemicals in the indoor air. It turned out that the outer wall of the child room bordered a shed, in which was a lawn mower, petrol, and a number of white spirit containing products in plastic containers were stored. The concentration of neurotoxic substances in this particular child room was posing a risk.

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