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Posted on 11/07/2019
Separating waste containing brominated FRs

A thesis sponsored by the Ireland EPA looks at the question of brominated flame retardants in consumer waste, contamination of landfill leachate and techniques for sorting wastes containing brominated FRs. The thesis estimates that brominated FRs result in around 4 000 tonnes plastics and textile waste per year in Ireland being “hazardous”. Sampling of leachate from 40 municipal landfills showed levels of over 350 ng/l PBDEs, and the authors suggest “considerable contamination” of the environment. Portable XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) measurement of elemental bromine was tested in over 550 samples of WEEE plastics, concluding that bromine levels above 710 mg/kg in plastic or textile waste can be used to designate as “hazardous” (presence of POP brominated FRs) with 94% segregation accuracy, increasing to 97% by adding elemental antimony testing.

“Sources, concentrations, and screening of hazardous brominated flame retardants from waste streams in Ireland”, M. Sharkey, NUI (National University of Ireland) PhD 2019 with C-CAPS and Ireland EPA http://hdl.handle.net/10379/15123
“Portable x-ray fluorescence for the detection of POP-BFRs in waste plastics”, M. Sharkey et al., Science of the Total Environment 639, 49-57 (October 2018) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.05.132

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