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Estimating European historical production, consumption and atmospheric emissions of decabromodiphenyl ether

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Science of the Total Environment
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)133-142
<mark>Original language</mark>English


A European scale production, consumption and environmental emissions inventory is produced for decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE) for the period 1970–2020. A dynamic substance flow analysis model of DecaBDE is developed and emission of the main congener, BDE-209, to environmental compartments is estimated. From 1970 to 2010, it is estimated that a total of 185,000–250,000 tonnes of DecaBDE was consumed in Europe. Consumption peaked in the late 1990s at approximately 9000 tonnes/year and has declined by ~30% in 2010. Pre- dicted BDE-209 atmospheric emissions peak in 2004 at 10 tonnes/year. The waste management phase of the BDE-209 life cycle is responsible for the majority of atmospheric emissions via volatilisation and particle bound emissions from landfills, whilst leakage from Sewerage systems is the major source of emissions to the hydro- sphere. Use of sewage sludge from wastewater treatment works as an agricultural fertiliser is the most important pathway of BDE-209 to soil. Although DecaBDE consumption has declined in recent years, the stock in use for 2010 remains considerable (60,000 tonnes) and is likely to act as a source of atmospheric emissions for several decades. Uncertainties exist in these estimations and more field or experimental data is needed to clarify the significance of certain emission pathways, in particular, emissions from landfill sites.