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A contemporary assessment of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) in the ambient air and soil of Azerbaijan

Abstract

PBDEs were measured in air and soil across Azerbaijan to establish contemporary concentrations at 13 urban and rural sites. Polyurethane foam passive air samplers (PUF-PAS) were deployed for a period of a month with surface soil samples collected at the same sites. Unlike organochlorine pesticides previously surveyed by our group, PBDE concentrations in both contemporary air and soil were low in comparison to recent European and Asian studies. For example, mean ∑9PBDE concentrations in air and soil were 7.13 ± 1.66 pg m−3 and 168 ± 57 pg g−1, respectively. The fully brominated BDE-209 was the most abundant congener observed in soil (174.8 ± 58.5 pg g−1), comprising ~ 96% of ∑10PBDE. However, the PAS-derived air concentrations for highly brominated congeners must be viewed with caution as there is uncertainty over the uptake rates of particle-bound chemicals using these devices. Some of the highest concentrations in air were observed at sites with the highest wind speeds and at several remote locations in the north of the country and this requires further research. Levels of BDE-47 and 99 (the two most abundant congeners in the widely used penta-formulation) were lower than levels reported elsewhere suggesting limited use/import of the penta-BDE formulation in Azerbaijan.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Mr. Mahammad Panahov, Dr. Rza Mahmudov, Ms. Svetlana Aliyeva, Ms. Roya Aghayeva, Mr. Olivier Bertrand for every assistance, as well as numerous land owners in Azerbaijan who granted permission for us to deploy PAS devices on their property and collect soil samples.

Funding

This research was supported by the European Structural Funds (CETOCOEN: CZ.1.05/2.1.00/01.0001) and Czech Ministry of Education (LO1214).

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Correspondence to Gulchohra Aliyeva.

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Responsible editor: Constantini Samara

Highlights:

• The first study of the spatial distribution of PBDEs in Azerbaijan

• Concentrations lower than levels reported in Europe and Asia

• Uncertainty over the collection of particle-bound chemicals by the passive air samplers.

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Aliyeva, G., Sinnott-Clark, C.A., Audy, O. et al. A contemporary assessment of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) in the ambient air and soil of Azerbaijan. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 31863–31873 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-0573-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-0573-2

Keywords

  • Passive air sampler
  • Flame retardants
  • Sources
  • Distribution