Levels and trends of brominated flame retardants in the Arctic

TitleLevels and trends of brominated flame retardants in the Arctic
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
Authorsde Wit, CA, Alaee, M, Muir, DCG
JournalBrominated Flame Retardants (BFRs) in the Environment
Pagination209 - 233
Date Published2006/06/01
ISBN Number0045-6535
KeywordsArctic, Brominated flame retardants, Decabrominated diphenyl ether, Hexabromocyclododecane, Polybrominated biphenyls, Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, Tetrabromobisphenol A

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) containing two to seven bromines are ubiquitous in Arctic biotic and abiotic samples (from zooplankton to polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and humans; air, soil, sediments). The fully brominated decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) are also present in biotic and abiotic samples. Spatial trends of PBDEs and HBCD in top predators are similar to those seen for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and indicate western Europe and eastern North America as source regions. Concentrations of tetra- to heptaBDEs have increased significantly in North American and Greenlandic Arctic biota and in Greenland freshwater sediments paralleling trends seen further south. For BDE-209, increasing concentrations in Greenlandic peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) and in dated lake sediment cores in the Canadian Arctic have been seen during the 1990s. BDE-47, -99, -100 and -153 are observed to biomagnify in Arctic food webs. ∑PBDE concentrations in Arctic samples are lower than in similar sample types from more southerly regions and are one or more orders of magnitude lower than ∑PCB concentrations except for some levels for air. Air and harbor sediment results for PBDEs indicate that there are local sources near highly populated areas within the Arctic. Findings of PBBs on moss and TBBPA on an air filter, and that both are found in biota at high trophic levels indicates that these compounds may also reach the Arctic by long-range atmospheric transport. Based on the evidence of their presence in the Arctic and indications that most if not all are undergoing long-range transport, these brominated flame retardants (BFRs) have characteristics that qualify them as POPs according to the Stockholm Convention.

Short TitleChemosphere