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Plant Uptake of Atmospheric Brominated Flame Retardants at an E-Waste Site in Southern China

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journal contribution
posted on 06.03.2012, 00:00 by Mi Tian, She-Jun Chen, Jing Wang, Yong Luo, Xiao-Jun Luo, Bi-Xian Mai
Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) were measured in eucalyptus leaves and pine needles as well as the leaf surface particles (LSPs) of the two species at an e-waste site in southern China in 2007–2008. The monthly concentrations of total BFRs in the eucalyptus leaves and pine needles were in range of 30.6–154 and 15.1–236 ng/g dry weight, respectively, and relatively higher concentrations were observed in winter and spring. Correlation analysis of BFR concentrations and comparison of PBDE compositions between the plants and LSPs, air (gaseous and particle-bound phases), and ambient variables were conducted. The results revealed that BFRs in the plants, especially for less brominated BFRs, showed positive relationships with BFRs in the LSPs and negative relationships with the gaseous BFRs and ambient temperature. The PBDE profiles in the plants were similar to the gaseous profile for low brominated BDEs (di- through hexa-BDEs) and to the LSP profiles for highly brominated BDEs (hepta- through deca-BDEs). Applying McLachlan’s framework to our data suggests that the uptake of BFRs was controlled primarily by gaseous partitioning equilibrium for compounds with log octanol-air partition coefficients (KOA) < 12 and by particle-bound deposition for compounds with log KOA > 13. Different relationships between the plant/air partition coefficient (KPA) and KOA, which depend on the uptake mechanisms, were observed for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). This paper adds to the current knowledge of the factors and mechanisms governing plant uptake of semivolatile organic compounds with relatively high KOA in the environment.