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Passive air sampling of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai: Levels, homologous profiling and source apportionment

Chakraborty, Paromita, Zhang, Gan, Cheng, Hairong, Balasubramanian, Prithiviraj, Li, Jun, Jones, Kevin C.
Environmental pollution 2017 v.231 pp. 1181-1187
air, cities, electronic wastes, flame retardants, foams, persistent organic pollutants, plastics, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, polyurethanes, principal component analysis, recycling, soil, India
Several studies in the recent past reported new sources for industrial persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from metropolitan cities of India. To fill the data gap for atmospheric polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polyurethane foam disk passive air sampling (PUF-PAS) was conducted along urban-suburban-rural transects in four quadrilateral cities viz., New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai from northern, eastern, western and southern India respectively. Average concentration of Σ8PBDEs in pg/m³ for New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai were 198, 135, 264 and 144 respectively. We observed a distinct urban > suburban > rural trend for atmospheric PBDEs in Mumbai. Principal component analysis (PCA) attributed three different source types. BDE-47, -99, −100, −153 and −154 loaded in the first component were relatively high in the sites where industrial and informal electronic waste (e-waste) recycling activities were prevalent. Penta congener, BDE-99 and tetra congener, BDE-47 contributed 50%–75% of total PBDEs. Ratio of BDE-47 and -99 in Indian cities reflected the usage of penta formulations like Bromkal −70DE and DE-71 in the commercial and electrical products. PC-2 was loaded with BDE-28 and -35. Percentage of BDE-28 and BDE-35 (>10%) were comparatively much higher than commercial penta products. Abundance of BDE-28 in majority sites can be primarily due to re-emission from surface soil. PC-3 was loaded with BDE-183 and elevated levels were observed mostly in the industrial corridor of Indian cities. BDE-183 was notably high in the urban industrial sites of New Delhi. We suspect this octa-BDE congener resulted from recycling process of plastic products containing octa-BDE formulation used as flame retardants.