Levels and Transport of PBDES and Alternative Brominated Flame Retardants in Air and Seawater from the Arctic to the Antarctica


Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) have been used for more than 50 years to reduce the flammability of various industrial and commercial products like plastics, textiles and furniture. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which are currently the most well studied BFRs, are known to be toxic, bioaccumulative, persistent and undergo atmospheric long-range transport1; 2. As a result of their excessive use and long-range transport potential, they have been found worldwide in various environmental compartments with an increasing temporal trend, even in remote areas like the Arctic3; 4. Therefore, PBDEs have been regulated or banned by national and international regulations. Recently, tetra-heptaBDEs were included in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)5. This leads to increasing demand and usage of “new” non-regulated BFRs such as hexabromobenzene (HBB) and 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTBPE) as replacement products which have already been found in organisms from the Arctic6; 7. Despite their occurrence in marine biota, abiotic levels and transport pathways in the marine environment are unknown. Here we present the occurrence and distribution of several non-PBDE BFRs and the most common PBDEs in air and surface water from the Eastern Greenland Sea in the high Arctic to the Antarctica.
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