Alternative Halogenated Flame Retardants versus PBDEs in the Global Marine Environment – Occurrence, Distribution and Long-Range Atmospheric Transport toward the Polar Regions.

Möller, Axel (2012) Alternative Halogenated Flame Retardants versus PBDEs in the Global Marine Environment – Occurrence, Distribution and Long-Range Atmospheric Transport toward the Polar Regions. (PhD/ Doctoral thesis), Universität Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany, 236 pp.

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Halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) have been applied since the 1960s in various industrial and consumer products to protect humans as well as private and public possessions. In the past decade polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), formerly the major applied HFRs were widely restricted and adopted as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the Stockholm Convention due to their adverse effects on humans and the environment as well as their ubiquitous occurrence in the global environment. Besides PBDEs, various alternative HFRs have been applied for decades as well, or were recently developed to replace PBDEs. However, their potential adverse properties, environmental distribution and fate are largely unknown. Therefore, this thesis addresses the global occurrence, distribution and transport of alternative HFRs versus PBDEs in the marine atmosphere and seawater toward the Polar Regions in order to examine their longrange atmospheric transport (LRAT) potential. This thesis presents the first data on alternative HFRs in the atmosphere of the marine environment and the Polar Regions.
Alternative brominated flame retardants (BFRs), Dechlorane compounds and PBDEs were investigated in high-volume air and seawater samples taken along several sampling transects in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean toward the Polar Regions of the Arctic and Antarctic. In addition, three sampling cruises were conducted in the German Bight, North Sea. Several alternative HFRs were detected in the global marine atmosphere and seawater with hexabromobenzene (HBB), pentabromotoluene (PBT), pentabromobenzene (PBBz), 2,3- dibromopropyl-2,4,6-tribromophenyl ether (DPTE) and Dechlorane Plus (DP) being the predominant compounds which were observed in concentrations similar or even higher than PBDEs. Total atmospheric concentrations ranged from <1 pg m-3 over the open oceans up to 42 pg m-3 over the East Indian Archipelago. Seawater concentrations ranged from <1 pg L-1 in open ocean seawater up to 21 pg L-1 in coastal regions, while estuarine concentrations reached up to 6800 pg L-1. Overall, the comparison revealed that alternative HFRs dominate versus PBDEs in air and seawater, both in coastal regions as well as the Polar Regions, showing a shift from PBDEs toward alternative HFR in the marine atmosphere and seawater.
The distribution in the global atmosphere was strongly influenced by the proximity to potential source regions and the pathway of the sampled air masses. Highest concentrations were observed in continentally influenced air masses, while low background concentrations occurred during sampling of oceanic remote air masses. In general, Western Europe, East and Southeast Asia but also Africa were identified as source regions for the marine environment, especially for alternative HFRs as well as BDE-209. In contrast, relatively low peak concentrations of the PBDE congeners of the Penta- and OctaBDE mixtures under continental influence were observed, indicating limited emissions of legacy PBDEs.
The dry air-seawater gas exchange estimation showed that the atmosphere is a source for seawater resulting in net deposition into the global oceans after atmospheric emissions and transport, both in coastal regions as well as in the open oceans. Besides atmospheric depositions, riverine discharge was shown to act as source for coastal environments.
The investigation of sampling transects toward the Polar Regions revealed that several alternative HFRs – in particular HBB, PBT, DPTE, PBBz and DP – undergo LRAT toward the Polar Regions in an extent similar to PBDEs and, therefore, meet the LRAT criterion of POPs under the Stockholm Convention. DP was found to undergo LRAT attached to airborne particles whereby stereoselective LRAT differences were shown for the two DP stereoisomers. With respect to LRAT, the results of this thesis therefore imply that alternative HFRs – in particular HBB, PBT, DPTE and DP – aren’t suitable replacements for PBDEs, but chemicals of emerging global environmental concern and possible future POPs.

Document Type: Thesis (PhD/ Doctoral thesis)
Thesis Advisor: Ruck, Wolfgang
Keywords: Annette-Barthelt-Preis; PBDEs; flame retardant; long-range transport; pollutants; polar regions
Open Access Journal?: Yes
Related URLs:
Projects: Annette-Barthelt-Preis
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2015 12:04
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2015 08:02

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