Cyclic and Linear Siloxanes in Indoor Environments: Occurrence and Human Exposure

  • A. CincinelliEmail author
  • T. Martellini
  • R. Scodellini
  • C. Scopetani
  • C. Guerranti
  • A. Katsoyiannis
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 89)


Methylsiloxanes (MSs) are an important class of additive chemicals that due to their physicochemical properties have been broadly used in several industrial applications and consumer products. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a literature review on the current state of knowledge on the occurrence and distribution of MSs in air samples from different indoor environments, including, for example, residential houses, offices, public buildings, cars, industries or hair salons. Literature studies on the levels of cyclic and linear siloxanes in indoor dust, which is a major source of MS due their particle-binding affinity, are discussed. A wide range of MS concentrations in air and dust samples has been reported together with an evident different level in indoor air samples from building of different classification. Among cyclic methylsiloxanes, D5 was usually the dominant congener in the investigated samples. In general, the levels from industrial facilities were one or more orders of magnitude higher than those in residential buildings. The mean inhalation exposure doses to total siloxanes for infants, toddlers, children, teenagers and adults are also presented. Recent investigations on human exposure to MSs through dust ingestion were also included.


Bioaccumulative Transdermal permeation Endocrine disruptors Immunologic responses Ubiquitous Particle-binding affinity 


  1. 1.
    Sánchez-Brunete C, Miguel E, Albero B, Tadeo JL (2010) Determination of cyclic and linear siloxanes in soil samples by ultrasonic-assisted extraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr A 1217(45):7024–7030Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wang R, Moody RP, Koniecki D, Zhu J (2009) Low molecular weight cyclic volatile methylsiloxanes in cosmetic products sold in Canada: implication for dermal exposure. Environ Int 35:900–904Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Companioni-Damas EY, Santos FJ, Galcerán MT (2012) Analysis of linear and cyclic methylsiloxanes in water by headspace-solid phase microextraction and gas chromatography- mass spectrometry. Talanta 89:63–69Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lassen C, Hansen CL, Mikkelson SJ, Maag J (2005) Siloxanes – consumption, toxicity and alternatives. Danish Ministry of the Environment, Environmental Protection Agency (Danish EPA). Environmental Project No. 1031Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Will R, Löchner U, Masahiro Y (2007) CEH marketing research report siloxanes. SRI Consulting, Menlo ParkGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) (2007) Manual for investigation of HPV chemicals. OECD Secretariat.,3343,en_2649_34379_1947463_1_1_1_1,00.html. 21 July 2019
  7. 7.
    USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) (2007) High production volume (HPV) challenge program. Sponsored chemicals. Accessed Feb 2018
  8. 8.
    Danish Ministry of the Environment, EPA (2007) Survey of chemical substances in consumer products. Report 88Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    He B, Rhodes-Brower S, Miller MR, Munson AE, Germolec DR, Walker VR, Korach KS, Meade BJ (2003) Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane exhibits estrogenic activity in mice via ERR. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 192(3):254–261Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Granchi D, Cavedagna D, Ciapetti G, Stea S, Schiavon P, Giuliani R, Pizzoferrato A (1995) Silicone breast implants: the role of immune system on capsular contracture formation. J Biomed Mater Res 29(2):197–202Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lieberman MW, Lykissa ED, Barrios R, Ou CN, Kala G, Kala SV (1999) Cyclosiloxanes produce fatal liver and lung damage in mice. Environ Health Perspect 107(2):161–165Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Quinn AL, Dalu A, Meeker LS, Jean PA, Meeks RG, Crissman JW, Gallavan JRH, Plotzke KP (2007) Effects of octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) on the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge and levels of various reproductive hormones in female Sprague-Dawley rats. Reprod Toxicol 23(4):532–540Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Quinn AL, Regan JM, Tobin JM, Marinik BJ, McMahon JM, McNett DA, Sushynski CM, Crofoot SD, Jean PA, Plotzke KP (2007) In vitro and in vivo evaluation of the estrogenic, androgenic, and progestagenic potential of two cyclic siloxanes. Toxicol Sci 96(1):145–153Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Danish EPA (Miljøstyrelsen) (2003) Liste over potentielle PBT og vPvB stoffer (List of potential PBT and vPvB substances)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    McBean E (2008) Implications and trends of siloxanes in landfill and wastewater biogases. Can J Civil Eng 35:431–436Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Genualdi S, Lee SC, Shoeib M, Gawor A, Ahrens L, Harner T (2010) Global pilot study of legacy and emerging persistent organic pollutants using sorbent-impregnated polyurethane foam disk passive air samplers. Environ Sci Technol 44:5534–5539Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lee SY, Lee S, Choi M, Kannan K, Moon HB (2018) An optimized method for the analysis of cyclic and linear siloxanes and their distribution in surface and core sediments from industrialized bays in Korea. Environ Pollut 236:111–118Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Li B, Li WL, Sun SJ, Qi H, Ma WL, Liu LY, Zhang ZF, Zhu NZ, Li YF (2016) The occurrence and fate of siloxanes in wastewater treatment plant in Harbin. China Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 23(13):13200–13209Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Pieri F, Katsoyiannis A, Martellini T, Hughes D, Jones KC, Cincinelli A (2013) Occurrence of linear and cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes in indoor air samples (UK and Italy) and their isotopic characterization. Environ Int 59:363–371Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Tang X, Misztal KP, Nazaroff WW, Goldstein HA (2015) Siloxanes are the most abundant volatile organic compound emitted from engineering students in a classroom. Environ Sci Technol Lett 2:303–307Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Tran TM, Abualnaja OK, Asimakopoulos GA, Covaci A, Gevao B, Johnson-Restrepo B, Kumosani AT, Malarvannan G, Minh BT, Moon BH, Nakata H, Sinha KR, Kannan K (2015) A survey of cyclic and linear siloxanes in indoor dust and their implications for human exposures in twelve countries. Environ Int 78:39–44Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Horii Y, Kannan K (2008) Survey of organosilicone compounds, including cyclic and linear siloxanes, in personal-care and household products. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 55(4):701–710Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lu Y, Yuan T, Wang W, Kannan K (2011) Concentrations and assessment of exposure to siloxanes and synthetic musks in personal care products from China. Environ Pollut 159:3522–3528Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Bruinen de Bruin Y, Koistinen K, Kephalopoulos S, Geiss O, Tirendi S, Kotzias D (2008) Characterisation of urban inhalation exposures to benzene, formaldehydes and acetaldehyde in the European Union: comparison of measured and modelled exposure data. Environ Sci Pollut Res 15:417–430Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    USEPA (2014) Introduction to indoor air quality [WWW Document]. US EPA. Accessed 7 Dec 2017
  26. 26.
    Leva P, Katsoyiannis A, Barrero-Morero J, Kephalopoulos S, Kotzias D (2009) Evaluation of the fate of the active ingredients of insecticide sprays used indoors. J Environ Sci Health B 44(1):51–57Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Haug LS, Huber S, Schlabach M, Becher G, Thomsen C (2011) Investigation on per- and polyfluorinated compounds in paired samples of house dust and indoor air from Norwegian homes. Environ Sci Technol 45(19):7991–7998Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Huber S, Haug LS, Schlabach M (2011) Per- and polyfluorinated compounds in house dust and indoor air from northern Norway –a pilot study. Chemosphere 84(11):1686–1693Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Northcross AL, Katharine Hammond S, Canuz E, Smith KR (2012) Dioxin inhalation doses from wood combustion in indoor cook fires. Atmos Environ 49:415–418Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Besis A, Katsoyiannis A, Botsaropoulou E, Samara C (2014) Concentrations of polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) in central air-conditioner filter dust and relevance of non-dietary exposure in occupational indoor environments in Greece. Environ Pollut 188:64–70Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Shields H, Weschler CJ (1992) Volatile organic compounds measured at a telephone switching center from 5/30/85–12/6/88: a detailed case study. J Air Waste Manage Assoc 42:792–804Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Shields HC, Fleischer DM, Weschler CJ (1996) Comparisons among VOCs measured in three US commercial buildings with different occupant densities. Indoor Air 6:2–17Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Yucuis RA, Stanier CO, Hornbuckle KC (2013) Cyclic siloxanes in air, including identification of high levels in Chicago and distinct diurnal variation. Chemosphere 92(8):905–910Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Zhou SN, Chan CC, Zhy J (2012) Detection of volatile methylsiloxanes in indoor air using thermal desorption GC/MS method. 3rd workshop on organosilicones in the environment. Burlington, ON, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Katsoyiannis A, Anda EE, Cincinelli A, Martellini T, Leva P, Goetsch A, Sandanger TM, Huber S (2014) Indoor air characterization of various microenvironments in the Arctic. The case of Tromsø, Norway. Environ Res 134:1–7Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Meng F, Wu H (2015) Indoor air pollution by methylsiloxane in household and automobile settings. PLoS One 10(8):e0135509Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Xu L, Shi Y, Liu N, Cai Y (2015) Methyl siloxanes in environmental matrices and human plasma/fat from both general industries and residential areas in China. Sci Total Environ 505:454–463Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Kaj L, Schlabach M, Andersson J, Cousins AP, Schmidbauer N, Brorström-Lundén E (2005) Siloxanes in the Nordic environment. TemaNord. Nordic Council of Ministers, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Kaj L, Andersson J, Cousins AP, Revemberger M, Brorström-Lundén E, Cato I (2005) Results from the Swedish National Programme 2004. Subreport 4: siloxanes. IVL Report B1643. IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute Ltd., StockholmGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Tran TM, Kannan K (2015) Occurrence of cyclic and linear siloxanes in indoor air from Albany, New York, USA and its implications for inhalation exposure. Sci Total Environ 511:138–144Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Lu Y, Yuan T, Yun SH, Wang W, Wu Q, Kannan K (2010) Occurrence of cyclic and linear siloxanes in indoor dust from China, and implications for human exposures. Environ Sci Technol 44(16):6081–6087Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Franzen A, Van Landingham C, Greene T, Plotzke K, Gentry R (2016) A global human health risk assessment for decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5). Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 74(Suppl):S25–S43Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Cincinelli A, Martellini T, Amore A, Dei L, Marrazza G, Carretti E, Belosi F, Ravegnani F, Leva P (2016) Measurement of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in libraries and archives in Florence (Italy). Sci Total Environ 572:333–339Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Daisey JM, Angell WJ, Apte MG (2003) Indoor air quality, ventilation and health symptoms in schools: an analysis of existing information. Indoor Air 13:53–64Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Yoon C, Lee K, Park D (2011) Indoor air quality differences between urban and rural preschools in Korea. Environ Sci Res 18:333–345Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Laumbech R, Meng Q, Kipen H (2015) What can individuals do to reduce personal health risks from air pollution? J Thorac Dis 7(1):96–107Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Villanueva F, Tapia A, Lara S, Amo-Salas M (2018) Indoor and outdoor air concentrations of volatile organic compounds and NO2 in schools of urban, industrial and rural areas in Central-Southern Spain. Sci Total Environ 622–623:222–235Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Butte B, Heinzow B (2002) Pollutants in house dust as indicators of indoor contamination. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol 175:1–46Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Lewis RG, Fortmann RC, Camann DE (1994) Evaluation of methods for monitoring the potential exposure of small children to pesticides in the residential environment. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 26(1):37–46Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Liu N, Xu L, Cai Y (2018) Methyl siloxanes in barbershops and residence indoor dust and the implication for human exposures. Sci Total Environ 618:1324–1330Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Andersen M, Sarangapani R, Reitz RH, Gallavan RH, Dobrev ID, Plotzke KP (2001) Physiological modeling reveals novel pharmacokinetic behavior for inhaled octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane in rats. Toxicol Sci 60(2):214–231Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Utell MJ, Gelein R, Yu CP, Kenaga C, Geigel E, Torres A, Chalupa D, Gibb FR, Speers DM, Mast RW, Morrow PE (1998) Quantitative exposure of humans to an octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) vapor. Toxicol Sci 44:206–213Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Biesterbos JW, Beckmann G, van Wei L, Anzion RB, von Goets N, Dudzina T, Roelevend N, Ragas AM, Russel FG, Scheepers PT (2015) Aggregate dermal exposure to cyclic siloxanes in personal care products: implications for risk assessment. Environ Int 74:231–239Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Xu L, Shi YL, Wang T, Dong ZR, Su WP, Cai YQ (2012) Methyl siloxanes in environmental matrices around a siloxanes production facility, and their distribution and elimination in plasma of exposed population. Environ Sci Technol 46(21):11718–11726Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Kala SV, Lykissa ED, Neely MW, Lieberman MW (1998) Low molecular weight silicones are widely distributed after a single subcutaneous injection in mice. Am J Pathol 152(3):645–649Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Flassbeck D, Pfleiderer B, Klemens P, Heumann KG, Eltze E, Hirner AV (2003) Determination of siloxanes, silicon, and platinum in tissues of women with silicone gel-filled implants. Anal Bioanal Chem 375:356–362Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Tran TM, Le HT, Vu ND, Dang GHM, Minh TB, Kannan K (2017) Cyclic and linear siloxanes in indoor air from several northern cities in Vietnam: levels, spatial distribution and human exposure. Chemosphere 184:1117–1124Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Capela D, Alves A, Homem V, Santos L (2016) From the shop to the drain-volatile methylsiloxane in cosmetics and personal care products. Environ Int 92–93:50–62Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Cincinelli
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • T. Martellini
    • 3
  • R. Scodellini
    • 3
  • C. Scopetani
    • 3
  • C. Guerranti
    • 2
  • A. Katsoyiannis
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry “Ugo Schiff”University of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Consorzio Interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo dei Sistemi a Grande Interfase (CSGI)University of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  4. 4.Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) at FRAM – High North Research Centre on Climate and the EnvironmentTromsøNorway

Personalised recommendations