Liquid crystal monomers (LCMs) are used widely in liquid crystal displays (LCDs), which are dramatically changing the world due to the provision of convenient communication. However, there are essentially no published reports on the fate and/or effects of LCMs in the environment. Of 362 currently produced LCMs, 87 were identified as persistent and bioaccumulative (P&B) chemicals, which indicated that these chemicals would exhibit resistance to degradation and exhibit mobility after entering the environment. Following exposure to mixtures of LCM collected from 6 LCD devices, significant modulation of 5 genes, CYP1A4, PDK4, FGF19, LBFABP, and THRSP, was observed in vitro. Modulation of expressions of mRNAs coding for these genes has frequently been reported for toxic (T) persistent organic pollutants (POPs). In LCM mixtures, 33 individual LCMs were identified by use of mass spectrometry and screened for in 53 samples of dust from indoor environments. LCMs were detectable in 47% of analyzed samples, and 17 of the 33 LCMs were detectable in at least 1 sample of dust. Based on chemical properties, including P&B&T of LCMs and their ubiquitous detection in dust samples, the initial screening information suggests a need for studies to determine status and trends in concentrations of LCMs in various environmental matrices as well as tissues of humans and wildlife. There is also a need for more comprehensive in vivo studies to determine toxic effects and potencies of LCMs during chronic, sublethal exposures.

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Department of Biology

Su, H. (Huijun), Shi, S. (Shaobo), Zhu, M. (Ming), Crump, D. (Doug), Letcher, R.J, Giesy, J.P. (John P.), & Su, G. (Guanyong). (2019). Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic properties of liquid crystal monomers and their detection in indoor residential dust. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(52), 26450–26458. doi:10.1073/pnas.1915322116