Abstract53 brominated and chlorinated flame retardants were investigated in sediment samples from the German rivers Elbe and Weser, the German Bight, Jadebusen, East Frisian Coast as well as the UK East coast. The aim of the presented study was to investigate the prevalence of different halogenated flame retardant groups as contaminants in North Sea sediments, identify determining factors for the distribution and levels as well as to identify area specific fingerprints that could help identify sources.
In order to do that a fast and effective ASE extraction method with an on-line clean-up was developed as well as a GC-EI-MSMS and LC-ESI-MSMS method to analyse PBDEs, MeOBDEs, alternate BFRs, Dechloranes as well as TBBPA and HBCDD. A fingerprinting method was adopted to identify representative area-specific patterns based on detection frequency as well as concentrations of individual compounds. Concentrations in general were low, with<1 ng g−1 dw for most compounds. Exceptions were the comparably high concentrations of BDE-209 with up to 7 ng g−1 dw in selected samples and TBBPA in UK samples with 2.7±1.5 ng g−1 dw. Apart from BDE-209 and TBBPA, alternate BFRs and Dechloranes were predominant in all analysed samples, displaying the increasing relevance of these compounds as environmental contaminants.