Origin of hydroxylated brominated diphenyl ethers : Natural compounds or man-made flame retardants?

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

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Author(s)

  • Yi Wan
  • Steve Wiseman
  • Hong Chang
  • Xiaowei Zhang
  • Paul D. Jones
  • And 6 others
  • Markus Hecker
  • Kurunthachalam Kannan
  • Shinsuke Tanabe
  • Jianying Hu
  • Michael H. W. Lam
  • John P. Giesy

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7536-7542
Journal / PublicationEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume43
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2009

Abstract

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been widely used as flame retardants. The structurally related hydroxylated PBDEs (OH-PBDEs) and methoxylated PBDEs (MeO-PBDEs) occur in precipitation, surface water, wildlife, and humans. The formation of OH-PBDEs in wildlife and humans is of considerable concern due to their greater toxicities relative to PBDEs and MeO-PBDEs. Research to date suggests that OH-PBDEs are formed by hydroxylation of PBDEs, and MeO-PBDEs are then formed by methylation of the OH-PBDEs. Here we show significant metabolic production of OH-PBDEs from MeO-PBDEs while hydroxylation of synthetic PBDEs to OH-PBDEs was negligible. Concentrations of PBDEs, OH-PBDEs, and MeO-PBDEs were analyzed in tuna, albatross, and polar bears collected from marine environments worldwide, and we found a closer relationship between OH-PBDEs and MeO-PBDEs than had been previously reported. Furthermore, for the first time the metabolic relationships between PBDEs, OH-PBDEs, and MeO-PBDEs were elucidated in vitro using rainbow trout, chicken, and rat microsomes. We propose the production of OH-PBDEs from naturally occurring MeO-PBDEs as a previously unidentified mechanism that could be an important contributor for the occurrence of OH-PBDEs found in wildlife from remote areas. Our results suggest that risk assessment paradigms for PBDEs and their metabolites need reevaluation and that human exposure to MeO-PBDEs that occur naturally in marine organisms should be considered. © 2009 American Chemical Society.

Citation Format(s)

Origin of hydroxylated brominated diphenyl ethers : Natural compounds or man-made flame retardants? / Wan, Yi; Wiseman, Steve; Chang, Hong; Zhang, Xiaowei; Jones, Paul D.; Hecker, Markus; Kannan, Kurunthachalam; Tanabe, Shinsuke; Hu, Jianying; Lam, Michael H. W.; Giesy, John P.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 43, No. 19, 01.10.2009, p. 7536-7542.

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