PBMS contributes to study on brominated flame retardant

The results of an eight year monitoring program studying the brominated flame-retardant, decabromodiphenylether (decaBDE) in Europe has recently been published. Samples from the PBMS Tissue Archive of egg contents of British sparrowhawks were used, plus glaucous gull eggs from the remote Bear Island, and marine sediments and sewage sludge from around North West Europe.

DecaBDE (a fire retardant that until recently was used in textiles and electronics housings) was found in the majority of sparrowhawk and glaucous gull eggs tested. High decaBDE concentrations were measured in sediments and sewage sludge samples from the UK. The study concluded that DecaBDE is unlikely to disappear from the European environment within decades despite bans on its use and emissions.

This work was led by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in collaboration with the PBMS (based at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), the Norwegian Polar Insitute, and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences, UK. The article can be downloaded from ScienceDirect: Leslie et al. Decabromodiphenylether trends in the European environment: Bird eggs, sewage sludge and surficial sediments, Science of The Total Environment. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145174.

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