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Size distribution and leaching characteristics of poly brominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the bottom ashes of municipal solid waste incinerators

Abstract

The particle size distributions and leaching characteristics of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the bottom ashes of two Taiwanese municipal solid waste incinerators (MSWIs A and B) were investigated to evaluate PBDE leaching into the environment through reutilization of bottom ashes. The PBDE contents in the bottom ashes of the MSWIs (29.0–243 ng/g) could be two orders higher than those in rural and urban soils. The PBDE fraction of the bottom ashes was more distributed in larger particles (> 0.25 mm). Similar trends were found for the PBDE contents in the bottom ashes and their PBDE leaching concentrations, revealing that the elevated PBDE contents in the bottom ashes may lead to a higher PBDE leaching mass. The leaching of PBDEs is attributed to diffusion driven by the concentration gradient and effective surface area. The normalized leaching ratios (NLRs) of PBDEs for the bottom ashes of the MSWIs are about four orders greater than those of PBDE-related raw materials and products, and this may be due to their porous structures having much greater effective surface area. The elevated NLRs of PBDEs thus deserve more attention when bottom ashes are recycled and reutilized as construction materials.

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Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support received for this work from the National Science Council of Taiwan under Grant NSC 98-2221-E-230-002-MY2.

Author information

Correspondence to Wen-Jhy Lee or Lin-Chi Wang.

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Responsible editor: Constantini Samara

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Lin, Y., Zhou, S., Lee, W. et al. Size distribution and leaching characteristics of poly brominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the bottom ashes of municipal solid waste incinerators. Environ Sci Pollut Res 21, 4614–4623 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-013-2402-6

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Keywords

  • PBDEs
  • Leaching
  • Bottom ash
  • Municipal solid waste incinerator