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Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in various atmospheric environments of Taiwan: Their levels, source identification and influence of combustion sources

Wang, Lin-Chi, Lee, Wen-Jhy, Lee, Wei-Shan, Chang-Chien, Guo-Ping
Chemosphere 2011 v.84 no.7 pp. 936-942
biphenyl, steel, heavy metals, urban areas, ethers, combustion, air, polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, emissions, Taiwan
In this study, ambient air samples from different atmospheric environments were examined for both PBDE and PCDD/F characteristics to verify that combustion is a significant PBDE emission source. The mean±SD atmospheric PBDE concentrations were 165±65.0pgNm⁻³ in the heavy steel complex area and 93.9±24.5pgNm⁻³ in the metals complex areas, 4.7 and 2.7 times higher than that (35.3±15.5pgNm⁻³) in the urban areas, respectively. The statistically high correlation (r=0.871, p<0.001) found between the atmospheric PBDE and PCDD/F concentrations reveals that the combustion sources are the most likely PBDE emission sources. Correspondence analysis shows the atmospheric PBDEs of the heavy steel and metals complex areas are associated with BDE-209, -203, -207, -208, indicative of combustion source contributions. Furthermore, the PBDEs in urban ambient air experience the influence of the evaporative releases of the commercial penta- and octa-BDE mixtures, as well as combustion source emissions. By comparing the PBDE homologues of indoor air, urban ambient air, and stack flue gases of combustion sources, we found that the lighter brominated PBDEs in urban ambient air were contributed by the indoor air, while their highly brominated ones were from the combustion sources, such as vehicles. The developed source identification measure can be used to clarify possible PBDE sources not only for Taiwanese atmosphere but also for other environmental media in other countries associated with various emission sources in the future.