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Physical-chemical properties and evaluative fate modelling of 'emerging' and 'novel' brominated and organophosphorus flame retardants in the indoor and outdoor environment
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry. IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
Number of Authors: 3
2015 (English)In: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 524, 416-426 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Several groups of flame retardants (FRs) have entered the market in recent years as replacements for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), but little is known about their physical-chemical properties or their environmental transport and fate. Here we make best estimates of the physical-chemical properties and undertake evaluative modelling assessments (indoors and outdoors) for 35 so-called 'novel' and 'emerging' brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and 22 organophosphorus flame retardants (OPFRs). A QSPR (Quantitative Structure-Property Relationship) based technique is used to reduce uncertainty in physical-chemical properties and to aid property selection for modelling, but it is evident that more, high quality property data are required for improving future assessments. Evaluative modelling results show that many of the alternative FRs, mainly alternative BFRs and some of the halogenated OPFRs, behave similarly to the PBDEs both indoors and outdoors. These alternative FRs exhibit high overall persistence (Pov), long-range transport potential (LRTP) and POP-like behaviour and on that basis cannot be regarded as suitable replacements to PBDEs. A group of low molecular weight alternative BFRs and non-halogenated OPFRs show a potentially better environmental performance based on Pov and LRTP metrics. Results must be interpreted with caution though since there are significant uncertainties and limited data to allow for thorough model evaluation. Additional environmental parameters such as toxicity and bioaccumulative potential as well as functionality issues should be considered in an industrial substitution strategy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 524, 416-426 p.
Keyword [en]
BFRs, OPFRs, Indoor fate, Persistence, Physical-chemical properties
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Applied Environmental Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-118329DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.02.106ISI: 000355010400042OAI: diva2:823755
Available from: 2015-06-18 Created: 2015-06-15 Last updated: 2016-03-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Indoor emissions and fate of flame retardants: A modelling approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Indoor emissions and fate of flame retardants: A modelling approach
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A significant number of consumer goods and building materials act as emission sources of flame retardants (FRs) in the indoor environment. As a result, FRs have become ubiquitous indoors raising concerns about human exposure and possible health implications. Once released indoors, FRs can escape to the outdoors where they can persist, be transported over long distances and present a threat to the environment. Despite the increasing number of studies reporting the occurrence of FRs in the indoor environment, the understanding of i) how and to what extent these chemicals are released from indoor sources, and ii) their subsequent fate indoors remains limited. The overarching objective of this thesis was to improve this understanding by assessing the indoor emissions and fate of FRs using a combination of multimedia modelling strategies and experimental/empirical approaches. Paper I identifies a number of knowledge gaps and limitations regarding indoor emissions and fate of FRs and the available modelling approaches. These include a limited understanding of the key emission mechanisms for low volatility FRs, uncertainties regarding indoor air/surface partitioning, poor characterization of dust and film dynamics and a significant lack of knowledge regarding indoor reaction/degradation processes. In Paper II we highlighted the serious scarcity in physicochemical property data for the alternative FRs and demonstrated the applicability of a simple QSPR technique for selecting reliable property estimates for chemical assessments. A modelling fate assessment indicated a strong partitioning to indoor surfaces and dust for most of the alternative FRs. Indications for POP (persistent organic pollutant)-like persistence and LRT (long-range transport) and bioaccumulative potential in the outdoor environment were also identified for many alternative FRs. Using an inverse modelling approach in Paper III we estimated 2 to 3 orders of magnitude higher emissions of organophosphate FRs (0.52 and 0.32 ng.h-1) than brominated FRs (0.083 μg.h-1 and 0.41 μg.h-1) in Norwegian households. An emission-to-dust signal was also identified for organophosphate FRs suggesting that direct migration to dust may be a key fate process indoors. No evidence of a direct source-to-dust transfer mechanism was seen in Paper IV where the chemical transfer between a product treated with an organophosphate FR and dust in direct contact was experimentally investigated. It was concluded though that direct contact between an FR source and dust can result in contamination hotspots indoors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University, 2016
flame retardants, BFRs, OPFRs, indoor environment, emissions, fate, modelling
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Applied Environmental Science
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127258 (URN)978-91-7649-341-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-04-08, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 264600

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

Available from: 2016-03-16 Created: 2016-02-29 Last updated: 2016-04-05Bibliographically approved

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Liagkouridis, IoannisCousins, Ian T.
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