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Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in air and dust from electronic waste storage facilities in Thailand

TitleBrominated flame retardants (BFRs) in air and dust from electronic waste storage facilities in Thailand
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMuenhor D, Harrad S, Ali N, Covaci A
Journal TitleEnvironment International
Pages690 - 698
Journal Date2010/10//
ISBN Number0160-4120
Keywordsair, Decabromobiphenyl (BB-209), Decabromodiphenylethane (DBDPE), Dust, e-waste, Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
AbstractThis study reports concentrations of brominated flame retardants in dust samples (n=25) and in indoor (n=5) and outdoor air (n=10) (using PUF disk passive air samplers) from 5 electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) storage facilities in Thailand. Concentrations of [Sigma]10PBDEs (BDEs 17, 28, 47, 49, 66, 85, 99, 100, 153 and 154) in outdoor air in the vicinity of e-waste storage facilities ranged from 8 to 150 pg m-3. Indoor air concentrations ranged from 46 to 350 pg m-3, with highest concentrations found in a personal computer and printer waste storage room at an e-waste storage facility. These are lower than reported previously for electronic waste treatment facilities in China, Sweden, and the US. Concentrations of [Sigma]21PBDEs ([Sigma]10PBDEs + BDEs 181, 183, 184, 191, 196, 197, 203, 206, 207, 208 and 209), decabromodiphenylethane (DBDPE), decabromobiphenyl (BB-209) in dust were 320-290,000, 43-8700 and <20-2300 ng g-1 respectively, with the highest concentrations of [Sigma]21PBDEs, BDE-209 and DBDPE in a room used to house discarded TVs, stereos and radios. PBDE concentrations in dust were slightly higher but within the range of those detected in workshop floor dust from an e-waste recycling centre in China. The highest concentration of BB-209 was detected in a room storing discarded personal computers and printers. Consistent with recent reports of elevated ratios of BDE-208:BDE-209 and BDE-183:BDE-209 in household electronics from South China, percentage ratios of BDE-208:BDE-209 (0.64-2.9%) and of BDE-208:BDE-183 (2.8-933%) in dust samples exceeded substantially those present in commercial deca-BDE and octa-BDE formulations. This suggests direct migration of BDE-208 and other nonabrominated BDEs from e-waste to the environment. Under realistic high-end scenarios of occupational exposure to BDE-99, workers in the facilities were exposed above a recently-published Health Based Limit Value for this congener. Reassuringly, estimated exposures to BDE-209 were below the USEPA's reference dose for this congener.
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