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Passive-sampler derived air concentrations fo polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Kuwait

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Bondi Gevao
  • Ali Al-Omair
  • Andy Sweetman
  • Lulwa Al-Ali
  • Majed Al-Bahloul
  • Murad Helaleh
  • Jamal Zafar
Journal publication date06/2006
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Number of pages7
Original languageEnglish


The present study presents, to our knowledge, the first ambient air data for a range of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Kuwait. This was achieved by concurrently deploying polyurethane foam–disk passive samplers at 14 sites over a six-week period. Calculated mean Σ5PBDE concentrations (sum of brominated diphenyl ethers [BDEs] 47, 99, 100, 153, and 154) ranged from 2.5 to 32 pg/m3 of air, with BDE 47 contributing between 39 and 65% of the ΣPBDEs detected. Differences in relative concentrations were observed between sites, with higher concentrations measured close to suspected sources. Calculated ΣPAH concentrations ranged from 5 to 13 ng/m3 (mean, 8.3 ng/m3). The compound distribution was dominated by three- and four-ring compounds, which constituted approximately 90% of the ΣPAHs, with phenanthrene contributing approximately 35%. However, the proportion of five- and six-ring PAHs increased around the “oil lakes,” which were formed by the torching of oil wells during the 1991 Gulf War. The oil lakes are a reservoir of PAHs that will continue feeding the atmosphere as long as they remain untreated.