Environmental science & technology

Tribromophenoxy flame retardants in the Great Lakes atmosphere.

PMID 23181569


The 2,4,6-tribromophenoxy moiety is a common structural feature of several brominated flame retardants, and we have previously reported on the environmental concentrations of one such compound, 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy) ethane (TBE). Here we report the atmospheric concentrations of TBE and three other tribromophenoxy compounds: allyl 2,4,6-tribromophenyl ether (ATE), 2-bromoallyl 2,4,6-tribromophenyl ether (BATE), and 2,3-dibromopropyl 2,4,6-tribromophenyl ether (DPTE). The samples were collected at five sites near the shores of the Great Lakes during the period 2008-2009, inclusive. Of these four compounds, TBE and ATE are currently used as flame retardants, and DPTE was formerly used as a flame retardant until its production ceased in the mid-1980s. The total concentrations of ATE, BATE, and DPTE were ∼2 pg/m³ in the cities of Chicago and Cleveland and 0.1-0.4 pg/m³ at the rural and remote sites. The concentrations of TBE were ∼1 pg/m³ in these cities and 0.2-0.8 pg/m³ at the rural and remote sites. In both cases, this was a very significant urban effect. The concentrations of ATE, BATE, and DPTE did not change significantly over the two-year study, but the concentrations of TBE decreased by about a factor of 2 during this time. This temporal change was statistically significant but not strong compared to the urban effect.