Changes of accumulation profiles from PBDEs to brominated and chlorinated alternatives in marine mammals from the South China Sea

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  • Bingqing Zhu
  • Tak-Cheung Wai
  • James C.W. Lam
  • Paul K.S. Lam


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-70
Journal / PublicationEnvironment International
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


The present study investigated the composition profiles and levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and five PBDE alternatives in the blubber of two species of marine mammals, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) and finless porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides) from the South China Sea. Despite the fact that PBDEs were the most predominant brominated flame retardants in the samples analyzed, decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE), 1,2-bis (2,4,6-tribromophenoxy) ethane (BTBPE), bis- (2-ethylhexyl) -tetrabromophthalate (TBPH), 2-ethylhexyl 2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB) and Dechlorane Plus (DP) were all detected in both cetacean species. In addition, significantly increasing temporal shifting trends of Deca-BDE to DBDPE, Octa-BDE to BTBPE, and Deca-BDE to DP were observed in porpoise samples between 2003 and 2012 and dolphin samples between 2003 and 2011. These patterns may be attributed to the replacement of PBDEs by alternative halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) and the increasing usage of these alternatives following the restriction/voluntary withdrawal of the production and use of PBDE commercial mixtures. Our findings suggest that the study region may be a source of contamination by PBDE alternative flame retardants due to the high detection frequencies and levels of these compounds in marine mammals. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Research Area(s)

  • Biomonitoring, Dolphin, Halogenated flame retardants, Marine mammals, PBDE alternatives, Porpoise

Citation Format(s)