Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Persistence, Bioaccumulation, and Toxicity of Halogen-Free Flame Retardants
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
Show others and affiliations
2013 (English)In: Reviews of environmental contamination and toxicology, ISSN 0179-5953, Vol. 222, 1-71 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Polymers are synthetic organic materials having a high carbon and hydrogen content, which make them readily combustible. Polymers have many indoor uses and their flammability makes them a fire hazard. Therefore, flame retardants (FRs) are incorporated into these materials as a safety measure. Brominated flame retardants (BFRs), which accounted for about 21% of the total world market of FRs, have several unintended negative effects on the environment and human health. Hence, there is growing interest in finding appropriate alternative halogen-free flame retardants (HFFRs). Many of these HFFRs are marketed already, although their environ- mental behavior and toxicological properties are often only known to a limited extent, and their potential impact on the environment cannot yet be properly assessed. Therefore, we undertook this review to make an inventory of the available data that exists (up to September 2011) on the physical-chemical properties, pro- duction volumes, persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity (PBT) of a selection of HFFRs that are potential replacements for BFRs in polymers. Large data gaps were identified for the physical-chemical and the PBT properties of the reviewed HFFRs. Because these HFFRs are currently on the market, there is an urgent need to fill these data gaps. Enhanced transparency of methodology and data are needed to reevaluate certain test results that appear contradictory, and, if this does not provide new insights, further research should be performed. TPP has been studied quite extensively and it is clearly persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. So far, RDP and BDP have demonstrated low to high ecotoxicity and persistence. The compounds ATH and ZB exerted high toxicity to some species and ALPI appeared to be persistent and has low to moderate reported ecotoxicity. DOPO and MPP may be persistent, but this view is based merely on one or two studies, clearly indicating a lack of information. Many degradation studies have been performed on PER and show low persistence, with a few exceptions. Additionally, there is too l ittle information on the bioaccumulation potential of PER. APP mostly has low PBT properties; however, moderate ecotoxicity was reported in two studies. Mg(OH)₂, ZHS, and ZS do not show such remarkably high bioaccumulation or toxicity, but large data gaps exist for these compounds also. Nevertheless, we consider the latter compounds to be the most promising among alternative HFFRs. To assess whether the presently reviewed HFFRs are truly suitable alternatives, each compound should be examined individually by comparing its PBT values with those of the relevant halogenated flame retardant. Until more data are available, it remains impossible to accurately evaluate the risk of each of these compounds, including the ones that are already extensively marketed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Springer-Verlag New York, 2013. Vol. 222, 1-71 p.
National Category
Ecology Environmental Sciences Pharmacology and Toxicology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-90018DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-4717-7_1ISI: 000316412500003ISBN: 978-1-4614-4717-7OAI: diva2:622032


Available from: 2013-05-20 Created: 2013-05-20 Last updated: 2013-11-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Confronting new challenges in chemical assessment: emerging contaminants and climate change
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Confronting new challenges in chemical assessment: emerging contaminants and climate change
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Both chemical-specific (e.g. physical-chemical properties) and environmental (e.g. climate) properties are required for model-based chemical exposure assessment. The physical-chemical property data for large numbers of “emerging chemicals” of concern are scarce and uncertain and their unusual structures and behaviour hinder the creation of hazard profiles. Climate change (CC) is expected to alter the transport and fate of chemicals in the environment, so from a long-term perspective it must be accounted for in chemical risk assessment. This thesis tackles the challenges (i) in developing hazard profiles for halogen-free flame retardants (HFFRs), which are emerging chemicals that are often ionogenic and can contain metallic and organic components in the same chemical structure, and (ii) in quantifying the effects of CC on the transport and fate of organic chemicals with a wide range of physical-chemical properties. The findings in Paper I suggest that the hazard profiles of HFFRs can be constructed, though they may be incomplete and associated with uncertainty as a result of data gaps and difficulties in developing models to describe their unique environmental chemistry. Paper II shows that the large uncertainties in physical-chemical properties dominate the variance in future forecasts of chemical concentrations and are far more important than variations in climate parameters due to CC. Paper III derives the CC/baseline scenario ratios of chemical concentrations, which vary widely with physical-chemical properties. Concentrations in the Baltic region are projected to change by factors of up to 3.0. Paper IV identifies significantly decreasing trends in measured atmospheric concentrations of many persistent organic pollutants, implying effectiveness of control actions. There is no evidence that CC has altered the temporal trends in long-term time series of chemicals based on the statistical analyses of the monitoring data.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM), Stockholm Univeristy, 2013. 30 p.
emerging chemicals, climate change, fate, multimedia model, risk assessment, physical-chemical property, uncertainty, Arctic, Baltic, time series, persistent organic pollutants, temporal trend
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Applied Environmental Science
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95684 (URN)978-91-7447-801-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-13, Nordenskiöldssalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript; Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-11-21 Created: 2013-11-02 Last updated: 2013-11-14Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Kong, Deguode Wit, Cynthia A.Cousins, Ian T.
By organisation
Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM)
In the same journal
Reviews of environmental contamination and toxicology
EcologyEnvironmental SciencesPharmacology and Toxicology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 39 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link