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Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in the Sediments of the Great Lakes. 1. Lake Superior

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journal contribution
posted on 15.06.2004, 00:00 authored by Wenlu Song, Justin C. Ford, An Li, William J. Mills, Dave R. Buckley, Karl J. Rockne
Sediment cores were taken in 2001 and 2002 in Lake Superior at six locations away from lakeshores and segmented at 0.5−5 cm intervals. The year of sediment deposition was estimated for each segment of four cores using the 210Pb dating technique. Samples were Soxhlet-extracted and cleaned up by silica gel fractionation, and the concentrations of 10 polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and 19 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were measured by GC-MS in SIM mode. In contrast to recent declining or level-off trends in PCB fluxes, the sedimentary records of PBDEs generally show a significant increase in recent years. The load of total PBDEs to Lake Superior was estimated to be 2−6 metric tons, and the current loading rate was about 80−160 kg yr-1. With the exclusion of decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE209), the surficial concentration of ΣPBDE (sum of 9 congeners) ranged from 0.5 to 3 ng g-1, and the current ΣPBDEs flux was 8−31 pg cm-2 yr-1. The concentrations of BDE209 were about an order of magnitude higher than the sum of other congeners, comprising 83−94% of the total PBDE inventory in the sediments. Among the other nine PBDEs detected, congeners 47 and 99 were the most abundant, and congeners 100, 153, 154, and 183 were also detected in all the cores. Congener analysis demonstrated that the pattern of PBDEs in Lake Superior sediments differs from those in air and fish.