Environmental Threats of Natural Water Contamination with Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
Bogumiła Winid
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Faculty of Drilling, Oil and Gas, AGH University of Science and Technology,
Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Cracow, Poland
Publish date: 2015-02-06
Submission date: 2014-06-13
Final revision date: 2014-07-03
Acceptance date: 2014-07-08
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2015;24(1):47–55
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of synthetic halogenated organic compounds used in numerous polymer-based commercial and household products such as textiles, furniture, and electronics, to increase their flame ignition resistance and to meet increasingly strict fire safety standards. Release of PBDEs to the environment can occur during manufacturing and processing operations, throughout the service life of articles containing PBDEs, and when articles that contain PBDEs are disposed of. Within highly populated areas, elevated concentrations in air, water, sediment, and soil are associated with proximity to manufacturing, recycling, and waste disposal facilities, signifying that these may serve as point sources of PBDEs in abiotic media. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) can be transported in the environment for long distances from their primary sources and pose a risk to human health and the environment. There is increasing regulation and phasing-out of production of PBDEs due to their widespread presence in the environment and potentially deleterious effects on ecosystems and human health. According to the regulations of the Minister of the Environment in Poland, PBDEs are in the group of priority substances for which environmental quality standards have been established. In many cases the determination was not performed due to the lack of standardized methods. The main issue addressed in this paper – the potential occurrence of PBDEs in waters in the hypergene zone – was investigated based on available information about PBDE levels in surface waters, soils, and sediments. Levels of PBDEs in aquatic environments presented in the article and based on the review of the cited paper, reveal that the threat of PBDEs in Poland could be real. However, the current expertise in this field is still too limited to allow a reliable assessment of the scale of the problem.