A European consumption and atmospheric emissions inventory for pentabrominated diphenyl ethers (PeBDEs) is derived for the period 1970−2000. This time frame has seen a rise in the widespread usage of PeBDE, followed by more recent restrictions/bans. It is estimated that a total of 3000−5000 t of PeBDEs was produced in Europe during this period, with a further 9000−10 000 t imported in finished articles. The main uses for PeBDE are to flame retard consumer products as well as in packaging and solid elastomers. Their major stocks are predicted to be in polyurethane (flexible) foams with up to 30% in cars; more than 10% in furniture foam; and the rest in textiles, building material, packaging, and solid applications. Release of PeBDEs from treated products into environmental media are estimated with a focus on atmospheric inputs via volatilization from their use in cars, upholstered furniture, textiles, television sets, personal computers, and other recycled material. Different emission factors are used to derive different emission scenarios. A peak in atmospheric emissions of between 22 and 31 t of BDE-47 is estimated to have occurred around 1997, with a decline of 20% in 2000. Comparisons with long-term environmental monitoring data revealed that the time trends of human blood and milk concentrations follow similar patterns to the generated emissions, while sediment core levels increase more slowly, probably because they respond to a mix of atmospheric and catchment inputs. The emissions data derived here can be used in a spatially and temporally resolved form as input data for multi-media environmental fate modeling.
This study was carried out with funding from Defra to support the UK's position on incorporating 'new' chemicals into International regulatory agreements. KP (PhD student) carried out research with guidance from AJS. Joint authorship, AJS corresponding author. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences