Screening of Emerging Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs) and Polybrominated dibenzofurans (PBDFs)

As an assignment from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, a screening study of selected emerging brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polybrominated dibenzofurans (PBDFs) has been carried out. Additional substances in the screening were polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polybrominated dibenzodioxins (PBDDs) and chlorinated dioxins and furans (PCDDs and PCDFs).

Measurements have been carried out both at background- and urban sites. The sampling was mainly performed at the Swedish west coast with Göteborg representing the urban area. Sediment and biota was sampled in the estuary of Göta Älv and in a background area. For identification of pathways to the environment storm water/sludge and samples from WWTPs were collected. Dust samples from different indoor environments were taken both at public spaces and in homes. Air and dust samples were collected at a recycling industry for electronic waste. Fire extinguishing water from a fire at a recycling industry was included in the sampling program.

The emerging BFRs, PBDEs and PBDFs occurred in “high” concentrations in air and dust from the recycling industry. The occurrence of BFRs at this electronic waste facility shows that electronic articles contain these chemicals. BDE-209 and DBDPE were found in highest concentrations. DBDPE has similar applications as BDE-209 and it has been marketed as a general substitute for this chemical. The occurrence of PBDFs may indicate that the BFRs are contaminated or that PBDEs are transformed to PBDFs in the recycling processes.

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Last updated: 2021-05-05

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

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