Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

No.339: POP/PBT characterisation of dechlorane plus and novel brominated flame retardants based on data from Greenland

Vorkamp, K.; Rigét, F.; Sanderson, H.; Bossi, R.; Hansen, K.M. & Skov, H. 2019. POP/PBT characterisation of dechlorane plus and novel brominated flame retardants based on data from Greenland. Aarhus University, DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy, 80 pp. Scientific Report from DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy No. 339. http://dce2.au.dk/pub/SR339.pdf


Halogenated flame retardants (FRs) are used in inflammable petroleum-based polymers. Dechlorane plus (DP) and so-called novel brominated flame retardants (NBFRs), alluding to the ban of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), have been detected in air and biota of the Arctic. Assessments of whether or not a compound is a persistent organic pollutant (POP) or persistent/bioaccumulative/toxic (PBT), can include monitoring data. Therefore, chemical analyses of DP and NBFRs have been carried out in Arctic air, based on samples from Villum Research Station in Northeast Greenland, and high-trophic level animals from Greenland. In addition, PBT data have been compiled and reviewed, and mammalian toxicity has been addressed through databases and toxicogenomics. All compounds except 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)-ethane (BTBPE) were detected in Arctic air. The values for DP and decabromodiphenylethane (DBDPE) were surprisingly high in some samples, which warrant verfication, as they might be affected by local sources or contamination. The concentrations in biota were generally low, with few exceptions, e.g. 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (EH-TBB) in narwhal (Monodon monoceros), BTBPE in killer whale (Orcinus orca) and DBDPE in Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus). All compounds except DP were found in landlocked Arctic char, suggesting atmospheric deposition as a pathway of contaminant exposure. The PBT review suggested persistence for all compounds of this study. Bioaccumulation was indicated for DP, DPTE and BTBPE and toxicity for all compounds except DP. However, the data availability is limited. Existing no-observed-adverse-effect-concentrations were much higher than concentrations measured in the Greenland environment. In summary, the new data indicate persistence and some degree of bioaccumulation in the Greenland environment, while biomagnification was not apparent from our data.