PBDEs in leachates from municipal solid waste dumping sites in tropical Asian countries: phase distribution and debromination
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Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are extensively used as flame retardants in many consumer products, and leachates from landfills have been identified as one of the possible sources of PBDEs in the environment. Meanwhile, the unprecedented economic and population growths of some Asian countries over the last decade have led to significant increases in the amount of waste containing PBDEs in that region. This study investigates the status of PBDEs in leachates from municipal solid waste dumping sites (MSWDS) in tropical Asian countries. A total of 46 PBDE congeners were measured, both in the adsorbed (n = 24) and dissolved (n = 16) phases, in leachate samples collected, from 2002 to 2010, from ten MSWDS distributed among the eight countries of Lao PDR, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysia. PBDEs were predominantly found in the adsorbed phase. Partitioning of PBDEs in the dissolved phase was associated with the presence of dissolved organic matter; the apparent organic carbon-normalized partition coefficients (K′oc) of the BDE congeners were lower by two to four orders of magnitude than the K oc predicted from the octanol–water partition coefficients (K ow). The total PBDE concentrations from mono- to deca-BDEs ranged from 3.7 to 133,000 ng/L, and showed a trend toward higher concentrations in the more populous and industrialized Asian countries. The congener profiles in the leachates basically reflected the composition of PBDE technical mixtures. The occurrence of congeners not contained, or in trace concentrations, in technical products (e.g., BDEs 208, 207, 206, 202, 188, 179, 49, 17/25, 8, 1) was observed in most of the leachate samples, suggesting the debromination of technical mixtures, including BDE-209, in the MSWDS of tropical Asian countries. Moreover, the temporal trend indicated the reduction of BDE-209 over time, with a corresponding increase in and/or emergence of lower brominated PBDE congeners. The results indicated that MSWDS of tropical Asian countries are potential sources of environmental PBDEs, which may be transported to the aquatic environment via dissolution with dissolved organic matter. MSWDS could be amplifiers of PBDE toxicity in the environment, possibly through debromination.
KeywordsPartitioning Distribution coefficient Congener profiles Debromination products BDE-202 Asian countries
Ms. Kwan would like to acknowledge the support provided by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science RONPAKU (Dissertation PhD) program, the Philippines Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines, and the assistance of several undergraduate and graduate students at the TUAT-LOG. The authors also thank the host scientists from the selected Asian countries, and Drs. M. Yoh and K. Koba for their support in the measurement of particulate and dissolved organic carbon. This research was financially supported by Grant-in-Aid studies from the Ministry of Education and Culture of Japan (Project No. 22254001).
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