Occurrence and distribution of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the dissolved and suspended phases of the sea-surface microlayer and seawater in Hong Kong, China

Oliver Wurl, Paul Kwan Sing Lam, Jeffrey Philip Obbard
Chemosphere 2006, 65 (9): 1660-6
This study reports the first data on the concentration and distribution of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the sea-surface microlayer (SML), and their enrichment relative to bulk seawater, for coastal waters in the marine environment of Hong Kong, China. Samples were collected in March 2005 at five sample locations and analysed for eight congeners of primary interest, i.e. BDE 28, 47, 99, 100, 153, 156, 183 and 209. Concentration ranges of summation operatorPBDE in the dissolved phase (DP, defined as sum of truly dissolved and colloidal phase) and suspended particulate matter (SPM) of seawater were 31.1-118.7 pg/l (mean 70.7 pg/l), and 25.7-32.5 pg/l (mean 28.1 pg/l), respectively. Concentrations in the SML were generally higher by factor of 1.3-3.6 in the DP (concentration range from 40.2 to 228.2 pg/l, mean 149.2 pg/l) and by 0.3-2.1 in the SPM (concentration range 8.1-69.1 pg/l, mean 38.2 pg/l). Concentrations of PBDEs were general low and below detection limits in samples of an oceanic character and highest in the sheltered waters of Victoria Harbour. The congeners BDE 28, 47, 100 and 183 were most abundant, where BDE 209 was detected only in trace amounts. It is suggested that Hong Kong's marine waters show relatively low levels of PBDE contamination, and these compounds may originate from the disposal of electronic waste in southern China, as well as untreated discharge of wastewater locally.

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