American Chemical Society
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Partitioning of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers to Dissolved Organic Matter Isolated from Arctic Surface Waters

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journal contribution
posted on 2014-05-06, 00:00 authored by Maya L. Wei-Haas, Kimberly J. Hageman, Yu-Ping Chin
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of brominated flame retardant that is distally transported to the Arctic. Little is known about the fate of PBDEs in Arctic surface waters, especially in the presence of dissolved organic matter (DOM). DOM has been shown to interact with hydrophobic organic contaminants and can alter their mobility, bioavailability, and degradation in the environment. In this study, the partitioning of six PBDE congeners between Arctic DOM (isolated via solid phase extraction) and water was measured using the aqueous solubility enhancement method. Measured dissolved organic carbon (DOC)–water partition coefficient (KDOC) values were nearly an order of magnitude lower than previously reported values for the same PBDE congeners in soil or commercial organic matter, ranging from 103.97 to 105.16 L kg–1 of organic carbon. Measured results compared favorably with values calculated using polyparameter linear free energy models for Suwannee River fulvic acid. Log KDOC values increased with increasing PBDE hydrophobicity. Slightly lower than expected values were observed for the highest brominated congeners, which we attribute to steric hindrance. This study is the first to comprehensively measure KDOC values for a range of PBDE congeners with DOM isolated from Arctic surface waters.