Organophosphorus flame retardants and plasticizers in the atmosphere of the North Sea


Air samples collected in the German part of the North Sea from March to July 2010 were investigated for organophosphorus compounds (OPs) being applied as flame retardants and plasticizers. The ∑8OPs concentration ranged from 110 to 1400 pg m−3 while tris(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCPP) dominated all samples with individual concentrations up to 1200 pg m−3. The highest concentrations were observed in continental air masses showing the high influence of industrialized regions including production sites on atmospheric emissions and concentrations. The occurrence of OPs even in oceanic/Arctic air masses shows that OPs can undergo long-range atmospheric transport. Dry particle-bound deposition fluxes from 9 to 240 ng m−2 d−1 for ∑8OPs were estimated leading to a minimum annual flux of 710 ± 580 kg y−1 OPs into the German North Sea. This study presents the first occurrence of OPs in the marine atmosphere together with important information on their long-range transport potential.
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