An overview of over 200 published studies summarises currently available data concerning legacy and emerging flame retardants in the environment.
The studies provide data on legacy FRs (brominated flame retardants which were widely used in the past: BDEs, PBTs, HBCD, PBPs and TBBPA), recently introduced brominated FRs and organophosphorus FRs, covering water, sediments and biota (living organisms) with data from Asia, North America and Europe. The authors discuss fate and transport of the FRs in the environment. Higher concentrations of FRs are found near manufacturing plants and urban areas. Levels of the legacy FRs are generally falling or stable, following stopping of production and use, even though some of these are bioaccumulative. De-bromination of PBDEs (c.f. BDE-209 DecaBDE) is considered of concern because the metabolism products may be more toxic and more mobile. Data on more recently introduced FRs is considered to be insufficient, requiring more monitoring.
“Legacy and emerging flame retardants (FRs) in the freshwater ecosystem: A review”, M. Iqbala et al., Environmental Research 152 (2017) 26–42 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2016.09.024