Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in soil and dust from plastic production and surrounding areas in eastern of China

Abstract

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of organic pollutants. They are used as flame retardants that caused worldwide environmental concern. This study investigated the occurrence of PBDEs in soils and dusts from three plastic manufacture plants and surrounding areas in Eastern China. A total of 13 PBDE congeners were detected using gas chromatography-mass spectrometer (electron impact ionization). The total concentrations of PBDEs range from 2.21 to 558, 19.7–4916, and 8.70–18,451 ng/g dry weight in the soils of three sampling areas, with mean of 1004 ng/g d w; in dusts, the concentrations range from 7240 to 10,469, 684–4482, and 193–3989 ng/g d w, with an overall mean of 3619 ng/g d w. The most abundant congener is the BDE-209, followed by BDE-153 and BDE-85. This indicates that the brominated flame retardant added in the plastic manufacture is mainly the commodity decabromodiphenyl ether. In comparison with other polluted areas around the world, the PBDE concentrations in the soils of the plastic manufacture plants are similar to those in soils of waste plastic disposal areas and PBDEs production sites, but orders of magnitude higher than those in agricultural soils, mountain soils and rural soils. Daily exposure was estimated using the average concentrations of the pollution sites. The hazard quotient shows that the PBDEs pose considerable human health risks, especially to children, to which attention should be paid.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Special Fund for Public Welfare Industry of National Environmental Protection (No. 201009026).

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Correspondence to Deyang Kong.

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Xu, J., Qian, W., Li, J. et al. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in soil and dust from plastic production and surrounding areas in eastern of China. Environ Geochem Health 41, 2315–2327 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-019-00247-0

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Keywords

  • PBDEs
  • Plastic production
  • Soil
  • Dust
  • Pollution characteristics
  • Risk assessment