Contamination of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in watershed sediments and plants adjacent to e-waste sites

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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  • Haichao Zhou
  • Pingping Wei
  • Shuangfei Li
  • Qihang Wu


Original languageEnglish
Article number120788
Journal / PublicationJournal of Hazardous Materials
Online published17 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2019


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are one of the persistent toxic organic pollutants in watersheds near electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) sites (EWS). Spatial redistribution, translocation and bioaccumulation of PBDEs in natural sediment-plant ecosystems, however, are still unclear. The contamination and distribution of PBDEs in core sediments and wetland plants from two EWS and two mangrove forest sites (MFS) were investigated. The eight PBDE congeners were all detected in plant tissue and sediment samples, indicating PBDE contamination was common and severe, and their spatial variations were significant. Although sediments from EWS had higher PBDE concentrations than those in MFS, with an extremely high value of 36392 ± 5992 ng g−1 dw, mangroves could be the sink of PBDEs, as high concentrations (327 ± 48 ng g−1 dw) were also detected in mangrove sediments. The historical usage of PBDEs was reflected by their distribution in mangrove sediment core but not so in e-waste sediment core. PBDEs were taken up and accumulated in six wetland plants, with more accumulation in mangrove plants. These results demonstrated that PBDEs were not only contaminated in sediments adjacent to e-waste sites but also plant tissues. PBDEs could enter other environments via plant littering and/or herbivorous processes that must not be neglected.

Research Area(s)

  • Electronic wastes, Mangrove wetland, Persistent organic pollutants, Plant uptake, Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)

Citation Format(s)