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Spatial Distribution of Old and Emerging Flame Retardants in Chinese Forest Soils: Sources, Trends and Processes.

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journal contribution
posted on 03.03.2015 by Qian Zheng, Luca Nizzetto, Jun Li, Marie D. Mulder, Ondřej Sáňka, Gerhard Lammel, Haijian Bing, Xin Liu, Yishan Jiang, Chunling Luo, Gan Zhang
The levels and distribution of polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), novel brominated flame retardants (NBFRs) and Dechlorane Plus (DP) in soils and their dependence on environmental and anthropological factors were investigated in 159 soil samples from 30 background forested mountain sites across China. Decabromodiphenylethane (DBDPE) was the most abundant flame retardant (25–18 000 pg g–1 and 5–13 000 pg g–1 in O-horizon and A-horizon, respectively), followed by BDE 209 (nd-5900 pg g–1 and nd-2400 pg g–1 in O-horizon and A-horizon, respectively). FRs distributions were primarily controlled by source distribution. The distributions of most phasing-out PBDEs, DP isomers and TBPH were in fact correlated to a population density-based index used as proxy of areas with elevated usage and waste of FR containing products. High concentrations of some NBFRs were however observed in industrialized regions and FR manufacturing plants. Strongly positive correlations were observed between PBDEs and their replacement products suggesting similar emission pattern and environmental behavior. Exposure of mineral subsoils depended on precipitations driving leaching of FRs into the soil core. This was especially evident for some emerging BFRs (TBE, TBPH, and TBB etc.) possibly indicating potential for diffuse groundwater contamination.