AbstractA total of 53 halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) were analysed in sediments, European eels and dabs from both freshwater and marine sampling stations in the German Bight and the river Elbe.
Classic HFRs, such as polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), were the highest concentrated HFRs in eels as well as in most dabs (apart from 1,2,5,6-tetrabromocyclooctane (TBCO)). In sediments, on the other hand, alternate BFRs and especially dechloranes dominated the contamination pattern. Dabs were still found to be statistically representative for the contamination patterns and relative magnitude in sediments from their respective habitats. Contamination patterns in eels seemed to be more driven by the contamination situation in the food chain or historical contamination of their habitat.
Unsuspectedly the alternate flame retardant TBCO was found in comparably high concentrations (up to 12 ng g− 1 ww) in dabs from two sampling stations as well as in sediments from these stations (up to 1.2 ng g− 1 dw). It could not be detected in any other analysed fish or sediment samples, indicating a localised contamination source in the area.
This study provides information on HFR contamination patterns and behaviour in both marine and freshwater sediments and their potential role as contamination source for benthic fish.