Alternative flame retardants (FRs) have now replaced legacy FRs (such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers, PBDEs), but little is known about their fate in the aquatic environment. In this study, a range of legacy FRs (n=10) and alternative FRs, including halogenated FRs (HFRs, n=32) and organophosphorus FRs (OPFRs, n=19), were screened in water samples collected from 23 rivers covering the whole latitudinal range of Sweden. Of the 61 targeted FRs, 26 were detected in at least one of the river samples, with ΣFR concentrations ranging up to 170ngL−1 (mean 31±45ngL−1). In general, higher concentrations and a larger variety of FRs were detected in southern Sweden (ΣFR=60±56ngL−1) compared with the north (ΣFR=9.0±16ngL−1). In the south, HFRs were dominant, constituting on average 59% of ∑FRs, whereas in the north, OPFRs were dominant, constituting on average 82% of ∑FRs. This difference was best explained by higher population density in the south. The total daily flux of FRs into the Baltic Sea was estimated to be ~31kg and comprised mainly tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA), 3,4,5,6-tetrabromophthalic anhydride (TEBP-Anh), and 2,4,6-tribromophenol (TBP). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of environmental occurrence of TEBP-Anh, which was detected in two rivers and is suggested to originate from airports located near the sampling sites.
Science of the Total Environment – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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