Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 935–954 | Cite as

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in plastic products, indoor dust, sediment and fish from informal e-waste recycling sites in Vietnam: a comprehensive assessment of contamination, accumulation pattern, emissions, and human exposure

  • Hoang Quoc Anh
  • Vu Duc Nam
  • Tran Manh Tri
  • Nguyen Manh Ha
  • Nguyen Thuy Ngoc
  • Pham Thi Ngoc Mai
  • Duong Hong Anh
  • Nguyen Hung Minh
  • Nguyen Anh Tuan
  • Tu Binh Minh
Original Paper


Residue concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in different kinds of samples including consumer products, indoor dust, sediment and fish collected from two e-waste recycling sites, and some industrial, urban and suburban areas in Vietnam were determined to provide a comprehensive assessment of the contamination levels, accumulation pattern, emission potential and human exposure through dust ingestion and fish consumption. There was a large variation of PBDE levels in plastic parts of obsolete electronic equipment (from 1730 to 97,300 ng/g), which is a common result observed in consumer plastic products reported elsewhere. PBDE levels in indoor dust samples collected from e-waste recycling sites ranged from 250 to 8740 ng/g, which were markedly higher than those in industrial areas and household offices. Emission rate of PBDEs from plastic parts of disposed electronic equipment to dust was estimated to be in a range from 3.4 × 10−7 to 1.2 × 10−5 (year−1) for total PBDEs and from 2.9 × 10−7 to 7.2 × 10−6 (year−1) for BDE-209. Some fish species collected from ponds in e-waste recycling villages contained elevated levels of PBDEs, especially BDE-209, which were markedly higher than those in fish previously reported. Overall, levels and patterns of PBDE accumulation in different kinds of samples suggest significant emission from e-waste sites and that these areas are potential sources of PBDE contamination. Intakes of PBDEs via fish consumption were generally higher than those estimated through dust ingestion. Intake of BDE-99 and BDE-209 through dust ingestion contributes a large proportion due to higher concentrations in dust and fish. Body weight normalized daily intake through dust ingestion estimated for the e-waste recycling sites (0.10–3.46 ng/day/kg body wt.) were in a high range as compared to those reported in other countries. Our results highlight the potential releases of PBDEs from informal recycling activities and the high degree of human exposure and suggest the need for continuous investigations on environmental pollution and toxic impacts of e-waste-related hazardous chemicals.


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers Commercial deca-BDE e-Waste recycling sites Emission rate Human exposure 



The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support from the Project “Assessment of emission and environmental pollution of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)—a new and emerging class of persistent organic pollutants” (No. 104.07-2012.740) from National Foundation for Science and Technology Development of Vietnam (NAFOSTED). We also wish to thank Prof. Alexander Scheeline, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA, for critical reading of this manuscript. Support from the program “Updating the National Implementation Plan for Persistent Organic Pollutants in Vietnam” by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is also acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hoang Quoc Anh
    • 1
  • Vu Duc Nam
    • 2
  • Tran Manh Tri
    • 1
  • Nguyen Manh Ha
    • 1
  • Nguyen Thuy Ngoc
    • 3
  • Pham Thi Ngoc Mai
    • 1
  • Duong Hong Anh
    • 3
  • Nguyen Hung Minh
    • 4
  • Nguyen Anh Tuan
    • 5
  • Tu Binh Minh
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Chemistry, VNU University of ScienceVietnam National UniversityHanoiVietnam
  2. 2.Center for Training, Consultancy and Technology TransferVietnam Academy of Science and TechnologyHanoiVietnam
  3. 3.Center for Environmental Technology and Sustainable Development (CETASD), VNU University of ScienceVietnam National UniversityHanoiVietnam
  4. 4.Center for Environmental Monitoring, Vietnam Environment AdministrationMinistry of Natural Resources and EnvironmentHanoiVietnam
  5. 5.Pollution Control Department, Vietnam Environment AdministrationMinistry of Natural Resources and EnvironmentHanoiVietnam

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