Brominated Flame Retardant Chemicals Science Essay

The presence of brominated fire retardant chemicals and peculiarly polybrominated diphenyl quintessences ( PBDEs ) has aroused increasing concern to scientists over the past decennaries. Meanwhile, deposit is an of import sink and reservoir of anthropogenetic pollutants and has big impact on their distribution in aquatic environment. PBDE released from assorted beginnings could be transported to coastal countries through riverine inputs and besides atmospheric deposition. As PBDEs have lipophilic and hydrophobic features, they absorb to deposits strongly.

In this reappraisal paper, I aim to sum up the local PBDE concentrations in deposits and measure their beginnings and forms in China in past few old ages, and do regional comparing with other Asiatic states such as Korea, Japan and Singapore. A planetary comparing with European states and North America would besides been made to see whether there are similarities or differences.

Statistical informations demonstrated that Asiatic states shared about 40 % of the planetary PBDE ingestion in 2001, with about 25000 dozenss.

^ Bromine Science and Environmental Forum. Major Brominated Flame Retardants Volume Estimates: Entire Market Demand By Region in 2001. 21 January 2003.


Polybrominated diphenyl quintessences ( PBDEs ) are a group of brominated chemicals that serve as fire retardent that are widely used in many sorts of manufactured merchandises such as furniture, rugs, fabrics, and plastics used in electrical contraptions and equipment. PBDEs work as they decompose at high temperature and release Br groups. These bromine groups are effectual at decelerating and halting the basic chemical reactions that drive oxygen- dependent fires, and therefore cut down the rate of burning and scattering of fire ( De Wit, 2002 ) , which allows more clip for people to snuff out or get away from the fire.

PBDES were foremost produced in 1960s and have been used widely since 1970s ( Fowles et al. , 1994 ) . In 1999, PBDEs ‘ planetary one-year ingestion reached ca. 70,000 dozenss, and it was estimated that PBDE concentration in biology was duplicating every 5 old ages ( De Wit, 2002 ) . This raised a turning concern about PBDEs ‘ continuity in the environment and their bioaccumulation in nutrient concatenation. In recent old ages, scientists have measured PBDEs in human adipose tissues, serum and even breast milk. Besides, PBDEs are everyplace including fish, birds, Marine mammals, deposits, sludge, supermarket nutrients, indoor and out-of-door air, and house dusts. A recent survey which was taking on US population found that unlike other relentless organic pollutants ( POPs ) , the cardinal path of human exposure of PBDEs is house dust instead than nutrient. It was estimated house dusts accounted for 82 % of the overall consumptions of PBDEs ( Lober M, 2008 ) .

Surveies have been conducted in research lab animate beings so as to acquire a better apprehension of the possible wellness hazards of PBDEs. Surveies of single congeners and assorted commercial mixtures have suggested possible concerns about liver toxicity, thyroid toxicity, development toxicity, and development neurotoxicity. Furthermore, the presences of PBDEs in house dust and chest milk indicate that there are likely some tracts of PBDEs exposure peculiarly to kids. Due to wellness hazards, commercial Penta- and Octa-BDE were banned by the European Union ( Cox and Ethymiou, 2003 ) , Maine and California ( National Caucus of Environmental Legislators ) . Though industry voluntarily stopped production ( Tullo, 2003 ) , commercial Deca-BDE were excluded in these prohibitions, which made commercial Deca-BDE merchandises widely used and their demands in entire markets reached 56,418 dozenss in 2003 ( Bromine Sci. and Env. Forum ) .

There are no known natural beginnings of PBDE ( ATSDR 2004 ) , and they are semisynthetic chemicals that are structurally similar to polychlorinated biphenyls ( PCB ) . PBDEs exist as mixtures of distinguishable chemicals called congeners, which are isomers of different Br permutations forms. Each of them contains alone molecular constructions, runing from one to ten Br atoms attached ( Figure 1 ) . The PBDE congeners might be different in the entire Numberss and places of Br atoms attached to the quintessence group.

Figure 1. Generalized Structure of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers where ( m+n ) = 1 to 10 Brs

In this reappraisal paper, the aim is to sum up the local PBDE concentrations in deposits and measure their beginnings and forms in China, and do regional comparing with other Asiatic states such as Korea, Japan and Singapore. A planetary comparing would besides been made to see whether there are similarities or differences.



i?“PBDE without BDE-209



Pearl River Delta

Zhujiang River


1.1 – 49.3

26.3 – 3580

Mai et Al. ( 2005 )

Dongjiang River


2.2 – 94.7

21.3 – 7340

Mai et Al. ( 2005 )

Xijiang River


0.1 – 0.6

1.9 – 77.4

Mai et Al. ( 2005 )

Pearl River Estuary


0.3 – 21.8

0.7 – 111.9

Mai et Al. ( 2005 )

South China Sea


0.04 – 4.5

0.4 – 9.1

Mai et Al. ( 2005 )

Macau Coast


0.6 – 41.3

6.7 – 149

Mai et Al. ( 2005 )

Yangtze River Delta

Yangtze River Estuary



Chen et Al. ( 2006 )

Hangzhou Bay


n.d. – 0.01


Chen et Al. ( 2006 )

Qiantang River


0.1 – 0.55


Chen et Al. ( 2006 )


Busan Bay


0.38 – 5.86

14.4 – 2253

Moon et Al. ( 2007 )

Jinhae Bay


0.03 – 6.02

2.0 – 145

Moon et Al. ( 2007 )

Ulsan Bay


0.12 – 6.87

3.42 – 286

Moon et Al. ( 2007 )

Korean Coast


0.45 – 494

0.22 – 493

H.B. Moon et Al. ( 2004 )


Osaka Bay


8 – 352

Ohta et Al. ( 2002 )

Tokyo Bay


0.05 – 0.78

0.89 – 85

N.H.Minh et Al. ( 2007 )

Hong Kong


0.96 – 58.5

n.d. – 2.92

Liu et Al. ( 2005 )



3.4 – 13.8

Wurl and Obbard ( 2005 )



1.3 – 1270.8

0.6 – 3190


8 – 50

68 – 7100



0.6 – 17.6

4 – 510

De Boer et. Al. ( 2003 )



0.4 – 34.1

2.1 – 132

Eljarrat et. Al. ( 2005 )



3.67 – 21.5

Portuguese republic


0.5 – 20

Lacorte et. Al. ( 2003 )


North America


& A ; lt ; 0.5 -52.3

Great Lake


0.5 – 6.33

4 – 242

Song et. Al ( 2005 )

San Francisco Bay


n.d. – 212

Oros et. Al ( 2005 )

Niagara River


n.d. – 148

Samara et. Al ( 2006 )

n = figure of PBDE congener analyzed in deposit samples

n.d. = non observe

Chapter 1:

Local Comparison of PBDE concentrations in between China

Pearl River Delta

Surveies in China have found BDE-28, BDE-47, BDE-66, BDE-99, BDE-100, BDE-138, BDE-153, BDE-154, BDE-183 and BDE-209 in deposits of Pearl River Delta and next South China Sea ( Bixian et el. , 2005 ) . The concentration of i?“PBDEs ( except BDE-209 ) and BDE-209 were ranged from 0.04 to 94.7 ng/g, and 0.4 to 7340 ng/g severally. In general, the concentrations of BDE-209 were 1-2 orders of magnitude higher than those of i?“PBDEs. The PBDE forms in South China Sea and Pearl River Estuary deposits were similar to the deposits of Dongjiang and Zhujiang Rivers, bespeaking that the widespread influence from local inputs, likely from the three fastest turning urban centres in Pearl River Delta, viz. Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Dongguan, to river, estuarine and marine deposits of Southern China.

Samples collected from Dongjiang River and Zhuhai River had far excessively higher concentrations of PBDEs than those collected from other geographical districts of Pearl River Delta. It is explained that Dongguan has become the universe ‘s largest industry industries for electronics and electrical merchandises add-on, and furthermore, as the capital of Guangdong Province, Guangzhou is an urban metropolis with heavy population, heavy industrial and commercial activities ( Mai et al. 2005 ) . And therefore, it could be concluded that waste discharge from the metropoliss of Dongguan and Guangzhou are most likely the beginning of PBDEs to the Pearl River Delta.

The PBDE concentrations were besides high in samples collected from the Macau Coast. Due to a South China coastal current arising from the clockwise Coriolis force in the Northern Hemisphere and the predominating due west air current, the costal part received fluvial suspended atoms from the Pearl River Delta H2O web and wastewaters from Macau and Hong Kong ( Mai et. Al. 2005 ) . In add-on, this country is influenced by waste discharges from the Shenzhen River. It receives big sum of domestic sewerage and industrial wastewater from Shenzhen, which is the 2nd largest urbanised and industrialised Centre in Pearl River Delta.

On the other manus, Xijiang River showed comparatively lower concentration of PBDEs than the other parts. As the water parting of Xijiang River is less urbanised and industrialised comparison to those countries drained by the Dongjiang River and Zhujiang River, and besides the high flows of the Xijiang River reduces the magnitude of desposition for organic contaminations in the river bottom, hence, the concentrations of i?“PBDEs in Xijiang River is merely about 1/80 of the i?“PBDEs and 1/150 of those in Dongjiang River.

Yangtze River Delta

For the survey discoursing the surface deposit in Yangtze River Delta, the congeners constituents are a bit different from Pearl River Delta. A sum of 13 PDE congers including BDE-7, BDE-11, BDE-15, BDE-17, BDE-28, BDE-47, BDE-66, BDE-99, BDE-100, BDE-153, BDE-154, BDE-183 and BDE-209 were found in the deposits ( S. J. Chen et al. , 2006 ) . The concentration of i?“PBDEs ( except BDE-209 ) and BDE-209 varies from n.d. to 0.55 and from 0.16 to 94.6 ng/g severally. These informations are far more less than those detected in Pearl Delta River. Relative high concentrations of i?“PBDEs were observed in Qiantang River ( 0.1 – 0.55 ng/g ) and along the southern shore of Yangtze River, followed by those found around the upper portion of Hangzhou Bay, and the lowest i?“PBDEs concentration was in the north shore of outer Hangzhou Bay.

Compared to other researches about riverine, estuarine and coastal deposits, i?“PBDEs in Yangtze River are in the lower scope. Unlike the highly high concentration of BDE-209 found in Pearl River Delta, the by and large low to chair PBDE degrees found in Yangtze River are presumptively attributed to the little measure of PBDE fire retardents, particularly the proficient penta-BDE merchandises used in the part. On the other manus, the low PBDE degrees may be due to the specific hydrodynamic conditions of the Yangtze River Estuary and Hangzhou Bay. As Yangtze River is characterized by big flows of H2O and suspended deposits, dilution by the huge sums of both H2O and deposits from upper watercourse plays an of import function in administering domestic and industrial discharge into the estuaries. Meanwhile the high current speed besides affects the deposition of mulct suspended atoms, which have the inclination to unite with organic contaminations. These contaminations adhered to ticket grain atoms, which are further spread to the Continental shelf and the East China Sea, and would present injury to marine biology.

Hong Kong

Survey in Hong Kong has found a sum of 15 PDE congers including BDE-3, BDE-15, BDE-28, BDE-47, BDE-60, BDE-85, BDE-99, BDE-100, BDE-138, BDE-153, BDE-154, BDE-183, BDE-197, BDE-207 and BDE-209 ( Liu et al. 2005 ) . i?“PBDEs in deposits ranged from 1.7 to 53.6 ng/g, with the highest concentrations located around the most to a great extent populated countries of Sai Kung and Victoria Harbour, while the lowest concentrations of i?“PBDEs were found at more distant locations such as Sha Tau Kok, Castle Peak Bay, Wong Chuk Bay, and Gold Coast.

Chapter 2:

Regional Comparison of deposit PBDE


Brominated fire retardents have non been produced in Korea, but they were merely imported from assorted states. Data showed that the ingestion of fire retardents in Korea has been increasing steadily with about 10 % per twelvemonth during 1990s ( Korea Environment Institute, 2001 ) , and the entire ingestion of brominated fire retardents in Korea was over 49,000 dozenss in 2002 ( Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, 2002 ) . Meanwhile, deca-BDE accounted for about 25 % of the parts, but penta-BDE and octa-BDE merely accounted for a minor proportion of approximately 0.2 % of the entire Korean brominated flame retardant market ( Wantabe and Sankai, 2003 ) .

Surveies in Korea have found BDE-3, BDE-7, BDE-15, BDE-17, BDE-28, BDE-47, BDE-49, BDE-66, BDE-71, BDE-77, BDE-85, BDE-99, BDE-100, BDE-119, BDE-126, BDE-138, BDE-153, BDE-154, BDE-183 and BDE-209, a sum of 20 PBDE congeners in deposits of Ulsan Bay, Busan Bay and Jinhae Bay, which are all to a great extent industrialized countries and major habours in Korea ( Moon et el. , 2007 ) . The concentration of i?“PBDEs ( except BDE-209 ) and BDE-209 were ranged from 0.03 to 6.87 ng/g, and 2.03 to 2253 ng/g severally. In general, the concentrations of BDE-209 were 1-3 orders of magnitude higher than those of i?“PBDEs.

There were several features demoing high concentrations of PBDE in Korean bays:

First, the PBDE concentrations were higher in estuarine and interior bay locations near to industrial composites, as there is PBDE taint in the deposit from local discharges of industrial composites. An illustration would be Gosa Stream, one of the major paths of PBDE taint in Ulsan Bay. As there are many different sorts of industrial composites such as petrochemical workss, car mills, steel fabrication mills and unstained mills located nearby, these would lend to PBDE taint in the bays by the local waste discharge.

Second, PBDE concentration would be higher in topographic points with slower saltwater blushing rate. Due to the narrow breadth of Onsan Bay and the groin in the outer portion of bay, deposits are concentrated in inland rivers or watercourses and at interior locations of Onsan Bay. These indicated that taint beginnings of PBDEs are chiefly located in inland rivers and interior parts of bays. However, the PBDE concentrations in deposits would diminish quickly towards the unfastened sea. The concentration of i?“PBDEs in Busan Bay were 543i‚±380 ng/g, which was 20 times higher than the i?“PBDEs found in outer bay 27i‚±6.7 ng/g.

Third, high PBDE concentration could be found in habour zones with assorted shipyard activities. One illustration would be the sediment analyzed in Busan Bay, with the highest PBDE concentrations among other bays studied in Korea. The concentration of i?“PBDEs ( except BDE-209 ) and BDE-209 in Busan Bay were ranged from 0.38 to 5.86 ng/g, and 14.4 to 2253 ng/g severally, which contained the largest sum of deca-BDE with approximately 10s folded among the others. This strongly suggested that habour and shipyard activities are closely associated with PBDE taint in costal marine H2O, and a immense Marine merchandise market and a assortment of industrial composites including shipyards and electronics fabricating mills would lend to PBDE taint.


In Japan, the usage of tetra-BDE, octa-BDE and deca-BDE commercial proficient mixtures increased quickly up to 1990, and bit by bit decreased afterwards ( Watanabe and Sakai, 2003 ) . Recent research documents showed that PBDEs were detected in 6 surface deposits of Tokyo Bay with concentrations of i?“PBDEs ( except BDE-209 ) ranged from 0.051 to 3.6 ng/g and concentrations of BDE-209 ranged from 0.89 to 85 ng/g ( N.H. Minh et. al. , 2007 ) . Compared to former survey in Osaka Bay ( Ohta et. al. , 2002 ) , i?“PBDEs ( except BDE-209 ) in Tokyo Bay were similar to those of Osaka Bay and other industrial countries ; while concentrations of BDE-209 was lower than those in Osaka Bay. The ingestion of deca-BDE increased a two-base hit from 1960s to 2000, proposing that there is an increasing input of deca-BDE mixture to the environment in Japan. In contrast, the ingestion of tetra-BDE mixture and octa-BDE mixture in 2000 decreased to tierce of their parts in 1960s.

There are two similar features of PBDE distribution that we could happen in Nipponese bays:

First, a concentration gradient showed that the degree of i?“PBDEs and BDE-209 decreased from interior bays towards the oral cavity of the bays, bespeaking that municipal and industrial effluents would be the possible beginnings of PBDE taint.

Second, degrees of PBDE would be higher near to urbanised countries, as the research consequence showed the major emanation beginning of PBDEs to Tokyo Bay would be related to populated countries such as Tokyo and Yokohama in Japan.


Singapore is the universe ‘s 3rd largest crude oil refinement industry, which has more than 1 million barrels polishing capacity per twenty-four hours. Study in Singapore has tested BDE-47, BDE-49 and BDE-100 in 13 surface deposits at northeasterly and southwesterly costal parts of Singapore, but merely BDE-47, a sort of tetra-BDE, could be detected with a concentration scope from 3.4-13.8 ng/g ( O. Wurl, J.P. Obbard, 2005 ) . Though the research paper claimed that the chief beginning of PBDEs at those sample locations are likely to be shipyard, industrial activities and intensive traffics, there are non plenty informations to back up their positions in this paper.

Regional Comparison

Harmonizing to statistics, Asiatic states shared about 40 % of the planetary PBDE ingestion in 2001, with about 25000 dozenss ( Bromine Science and Environmental Forum, 2003 ) . Among Asiatic states, China and Korea are two of the major consumers. In China, the domestic demand of brominated fire retardents has increased at a rate of 8 % per twelvemonth ( Mai et. al 2005 ) . There are many brominated fire retardant fabrication workss located in eastern China, particularly in Jiangsu and Shandong Provinces ( Jin et. al 2008 ) . PBDEs were widely detected in riverine and costal deposits of the Pearl River Delta, particularly high in concentrations of BDE-209 ( Zheng et al. 2004 ; Mai et Al. 2005 ) . Besides, there are a batch of electronic and electrical fabrication workss in Guangdong Province, which provide big sum of PBDE incorporating waste discharge.

Compared to other Asiatic states, Korea has the most assortment of PBDE congerer, bespeaking PBDEs in Korean coastal Waterss are widespread contaminated. The chief beginning of PBDEs in deposits from Korean costal environment are likely to be industrial activities and intensive ship traffics, and this is similar to what were reported from Pearl River Delta and Singapore Coast. Rapid growing of electronic market in Korea could besides be one of the accounts of the addition in the demand of PBDE. Though the importance of effluent intervention works has been emphasized as a possible beginning of PBDE taint in some surveies ( Anderson and MacRae, 2006 ; Samara et al. , 2006 ) , the deposit samples collected following to the Korean effluent intervention workss contained comparatively lower PBDE concentrations among the others. This indicated that effluent intervention works might non be the major beginning of PBDE taint to Korean costal Waterss.

BDE-209 was the dominant congener in deposit samples, which accounted for over 80-90 % of the entire PBDE concentrations. Besides BDE-209, the most abundant congeners in deposit around Asiatic states were BDE-47, BDE-99, BDE-100 and BDE-183, which could all be found in Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta, Hong Kong and Korea. Furthermore, BDE-66, BDE-138, BDE-153 and BDE-154 could besides be detected in the sample deposits. These similar forms in Asiatic states indicated that the beginnings of the PBDE congeners are more or less the same. When comparing the surveies in these states, there are several common features that contribute to the PBDE taints. Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Ulsan and Busan have tonss of industrial fabrication composites such as electronic and electrical merchandise industries, while Hong Kong, Tokyo and Yokohama are urbanised metropoliss with heavy population. As there is still no forbiddance of PBDEs in Asiatic states, they continue to be used as fire retardents in a scope of stuffs and electrical constituents. All these compounds would hold their possible to come in the Marine environment by leaching from waste sedimentations or other stuffs or through atmospheric deposition to the sea surface. As a consequence, these features could be so emphasized as a possible beginning of PBDE taints.

On the other manus, deposits from Tokyo Bay in Japan showed different composings with an absence of BDE-100 ( N.H. Minh et. al. , 2007 ) . This suggested that there are different types of PBDE merchandise uses in Japan from other Asiatic states. Meanwhile, accurate informations on the composing of tetra-BDE used in Japan are limited and non yet available for farther treatment.

Chapter 3:

Global Comparison of deposit PBDE

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