Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in the sediments of the Great Lakes. 2. Lakes Michigan and Huron

Wenlu Song, An Li, Justin C Ford, Neil C Sturchio, Karl J Rockne, Dave R Buckley, William J Mills
Environmental Science & Technology 2005 May 15, 39 (10): 3474-9
Sediment cores were taken in 2002 in Lakes Michigan and Huron at six locations. A total of 75 samples were characterized, dated using 210Pb, and analyzed for 10 congeners of polybromodiphenyl ether (PBDE) including BDE209, as well as 39 congeners of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The concentrations of nine tri- through hepta-BDE congeners (Sigma9PBDE) in the surficial sediments range from 1.7 to 4 ng g(-1) for Lake Michigan and from 1.0 to 1.9 ng g(-1) for Lake Huron, on the basis of the dry sediment weight. The Sigma9PBDEs fluxes to the sediment around the year 2002 are from 36 to 109 pg cm(-2) yr(-1) in Lake Michigan and from 30 to 73 pg cm(-2) yr(-1) in Lake Huron, with spatial variations in both lakes. The flux of BDE209 ranges from 0.64 to 2.04 ng cm(-2) yr(-1) and from 0.67 to 1.41 ng cm(-2) yr(-1) in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, respectively. Dramatic increases in PBDE concentrations and fluxes upward toward the sediment surface and the present time are evident at all locations. The inventory of PBDEs in both lakes appears to be dependent upon latitude and the proximity to populated areas, implying that north-bound air plumes from urban areas are the major sources of PBDEs found in the lake sediments at locations away from the shores. Heavier congeners are more abundant in the sediments than in air and fish samples in the region. BDE209 is about 96% and 91% of the total PBDEs on a mass basis in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, respectively; both are higher than the 89% found in Lake Superior, although a t test shows that the value for Lake Huron is not statistically different from that for Lake Superior at the 95% confidence level.

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