Co-pyrolysis of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) with polymeric materials prevails in scenarios pertinent to thermal recycling of bromine-laden objects; most notably the non-metallic fraction in e-waste. Hydro-dehalogenation of aromatic compounds in a hydrogen-donating medium constitutes a key step in refining pyrolysis oil of BFRs. Chemical reactions underpinning this process are poorly understood. Herein, we utilize accurate density functional theory (DFT) calculations to report thermo-kinetic parameters for the reaction of solid polyethylene, PE, (as a surrogate model for aliphatic polymers) with prime products sourced from thermal decomposition of BFRs, namely, HBr, bromophenols; benzene, and phenyl radical. Facile abstraction of an ethylenic H by Br atoms is expected to contribute to the formation of abundant HBr concentrations in practical systems. Likewise, a relatively low energy barrier for aromatic Br atom abstraction from a 2-bromophenol molecule by an alkyl radical site, concurs with the reported noticeable hydro-debromination capacity of PE. Pathways entailing a PE-induced bromination of a phenoxy radical should be hindered in view of high energy barrier for a Br transfer into the para position of the phenoxy radical. Adsorption of a phenoxy radical onto a Cu(Br) site substituted at the PE chain affords the commonly discussed PBDD/Fs precursor of a surface-bounded bromophenolate adduct. Such scenario arises due to the heterogeneous integration of metals into the bromine-rich carbon matrix in primitive recycling of e-waste and their open burning.
The flame retardancy of medium density fiberboard (MDF) made from mixture of rubberwood fibers and recycled old corrugated containers was studied. Aluminum trihydroxide (ATH) was used as a fire retardant additive and mixed with the fibers to manufacture experimental MDF panels using wet process. Phenol formaldehyde (PF) resin in liquid, 2% based on oven dry weight of fibers, was used along with 0%, 10%, 15% and 20% of ATH. The flame retardant test was done using the limiting oxygen index (LOI) test. The other properties investigated include internal bond strength, thickness swelling and water absorption. The results showed that ATH loading increased as the LOI of MDF increased. This demonstrated that ATH could improved the fire retardant property of MDF at sufficient loading. An increase in concentration of ATH showed an increase in the IB values of MDF made without resin. MDF panels made without resin showed a progressive increase in internal bond as the composition of recycled old corrugated containers fiber increased. Addition of resin improved internal bond strength and reduced thickness swelling, and water absorption. Thickness swelling of panel increased as the composition of recycled old corrugated containers fiber increased. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDAX) showed that there is indication of ATH and resin filling the void space in between fibers.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were measured in surface sediment samples collected from urban canals or rivers in Lao PDR, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Japan. The total PBDE concentrations in the sediments ranged from 0.83 to 3140 ng/g dry wt. BDE-209 was predominant, ranging from 43% to 97% of total PBDEs, followed by nona-BDEs and some detectable concentrations of BDEs 47, 49, 99, 100, 153, 154 and 183. Sedimentary PBDE levels in Malaysia, Cambodia, the Philippines and Thailand were generally higher than those reported for highly industrialized countries. Spatial distribution of PBDEs indicated that inland sources may impact coastal areas. The presence of BDE congeners which are not contained in technical mixtures and the higher proportions of nona-BDEs relative to BDE-209 in the sediments were identified as indicators of debromination. BDE-209 was possibly debrominated under anaerobic conditions in some of the sediment samples.
Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs), 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy) ethane (BTBPE), and decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE) used as alternatives for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are also persistent in the environment as PBDEs. Limited information on these non-PBDE brominated flame retardants (BFRs) is available; in particular, there are only few publications on environmental pollution by these contaminants in the coastal waters of Asia. In this regard, we investigated the contamination status of HBCDs, BTBPE, and DBDPE in the coastal waters of Asia using mussels as a bioindicator. Concentrations of HBCDs, BTBPE, and DBDPE were determined in green (Perna viridis) and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) collected from the coastal areas in Cambodia, China (mainland), SAR China (Hong Kong), India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam on 2003-2008. BTBPE and DBDPE were analyzed using GC-MS, whereas HBCDs were determined by LC-MS/MS. HBCDs, BTBPE, and DBDPE were found in mussels at levels ranging from <0.01 to 1,400, <0.1 to 13, and <0.3 to 22 ng/g lipid wt, respectively. Among the three HBCD diastereoisomers, α-HBCD was the dominant isomer followed by γ- and β-HBCDs. Concentrations of HBCDs and DBDPE in mussels from Japan and Korea were higher compared to those from the other Asian countries, indicating extensive usage of these non-PBDE BFRs in Japan and Korea. Higher levels of HBCDs and DBDPE than PBDEs were detected in some mussel samples from Japan. The results suggest that environmental pollution by non-PBDE BFRs, especially HBCDs in Japan, is ubiquitous. This study provides baseline information on the contamination status of these non-PBDE BFRs in the coastal waters of Asia.
A study on the quality of water abstracted for potable use was conducted in the Selangor River basin from November 2008 to July 2009. Seven sampling sites representing the intake points of water treatment plants in the basin were selected to determine the occurrence and level of 15 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), six phthalate esters (PAEs) and bisphenol A (BPA). Results indicated OCPs were still detected regularly in 66.1 % of the samples with the Σ(15)OCPs ranging from 0.6-25.2 ng/L. The first data on PAEs contamination in the basin revealed Σ(6)PAEs concentrations were between 39.0 and 1,096.6 ng/L with a median concentration of 186.0 ng/L while BPA concentration ranged from <1.2 to 120.0 ng/L. Although di-n-butyl phthalate was detected in all the samples, concentrations of di-ethyl(hexyl)phthalate were higher. Sampling sites located downstream recorded the highest concentrations, together with samples collected during the dry season. Comparison of the detected contaminants with the Department of Environment Water Quality Index (DOE-WQI) showed some agreement between the concentration and the current classification of stream water. While the results suggest that the sites were only slightly polluted and suitable to be used as drinking water source, its presence is cause for concern especially to the fragile firefly "Pteroptyx tener" ecosystem located further downstream.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are extensively used as flame retardants in many consumer products, and leachates from landfills have been identified as one of the possible sources of PBDEs in the environment. Meanwhile, the unprecedented economic and population growths of some Asian countries over the last decade have led to significant increases in the amount of waste containing PBDEs in that region. This study investigates the status of PBDEs in leachates from municipal solid waste dumping sites (MSWDS) in tropical Asian countries. A total of 46 PBDE congeners were measured, both in the adsorbed (n=24) and dissolved (n=16) phases, in leachate samples collected, from 2002 to 2010, from ten MSWDS distributed among the eight countries of Lao PDR, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysia. PBDEs were predominantly found in the adsorbed phase. Partitioning of PBDEs in the dissolved phase was associated with the presence of dissolved organic matter; the apparent organic carbon-normalized partition coefficients (K'oc) of the BDE congeners were lower by two to four orders of magnitude than the K oc predicted from the octanol-water partition coefficients (K ow). The total PBDE concentrations from mono- to deca-BDEs ranged from 3.7 to 133,000 ng/L, and showed a trend toward higher concentrations in the more populous and industrialized Asian countries. The congener profiles in the leachates basically reflected the composition of PBDE technical mixtures. The occurrence of congeners not contained, or in trace concentrations, in technical products (e.g., BDEs 208, 207, 206, 202, 188, 179, 49, 17/25, 8, 1) was observed in most of the leachate samples, suggesting the debromination of technical mixtures, including BDE-209, in the MSWDS of tropical Asian countries. Moreover, the temporal trend indicated the reduction of BDE-209 over time, with a corresponding increase in and/or emergence of lower brominated PBDE congeners. The results indicated that MSWDS of tropical Asian countries are potential sources of environmental PBDEs, which may be transported to the aquatic environment via dissolution with dissolved organic matter. MSWDS could be amplifiers of PBDE toxicity in the environment, possibly through debromination.
In Asian developing countries, large amounts of municipal wastes are dumped into open dumping sites each day without adequate management. This practice may cause several adverse environmental consequences and increase health risks to local communities. These dumping sites are contaminated with many chemicals including brominated flame retardants (BFRs) such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs). BFRs may be released into the environment through production processes and through the disposal of plastics and electronic wastes that contain them. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the status of BFR pollution in municipal waste dumping sites in Asian developing countries. Soil samples were collected from six open waste dumping sites and five reference sites in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam from 1999 to 2007. The results suggest that PBDEs are the dominant contaminants in the dumping sites in Asian developing countries, whereas HBCD contamination remains low. Concentrations of PBDEs and HBCDs ranged from ND to 180 μg/kg dry wt and ND to 1.4 μg/kg dry wt, respectively, in the reference sites and from 0.20 to 430 μg/kg dry wt and ND to 2.5 μg/kg dry wt, respectively, in the dumping sites. Contamination levels of PBDEs in Asian municipal dumping sites were comparable with those reported from electronic waste dismantling areas in Pearl River delta, China.