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Emission inventory and environmental distribution of decabromodiphenyl ether in China

Zhang, Boya, Zhao, Bu, Yu, Mengqi, Zhang, Jianbo
The Science of the total environment 2017 v.599-600 pp. 1073-1081
emissions, emissions factor, flame retardants, inventories, material flow analysis, models, sediments, soil, China
Decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) is a highly brominated flame retardant that recent studies have identified as a potential persistent organic pollutant. Large amounts of decaBDE have been consumed and released in the environment in China, while no emission inventory has been available until now. In this study, a substance flow analysis was applied to establish the emission inventory of decaBDE in China from 1982 (the first year of decaBDE production in China) until 2013 based on activity data, transfer coefficients, and emission factors. The results show that the stock of decaBDE continually increased, reaching a peak of 290,000tons in 2007. The annual processing capacity of decaBDE also increased, and the processing capacity in 2013 was 49,000tons. Historical accumulative emissions were estimated to be 313.3tons from 1982 to 2013, and the annual emissions peaked in 2003 at 27.5tons. On average, decaBDE processing was the major source (58.4%) of total emissions, followed by treatment, production, and usage processes. From 1982 to 2013, decaBDE was released mainly into water sources, accounting for 50.7% of the accumulative emissions. At the provincial level, Guangdong, Shandong, and Zhejiang provinces were the largest producers in China. Simulations produced by the level III fugacity model showed that the projected concentration was very consistent with the measured value. The stock of decaBDE in the soil and sediment phases accounted for 99.8% of the total stock, and the transfer among the four environmental phases occurred mainly at the atmosphere–soil interface.