Feb 17, 2017.
We got first set of data on polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in pellet samples collected from 43 locations of 24 countries. PBDEs are flame retardants compounded to plastic products and chemical fibers. Most of them are regulated by Stockholm Convention. However, they have been continuously released to aquatic environments from waste plastics and fabrics. Our study with Prof. Izumi Watanabe, Mr. Takashi Tokumaru, and Ghanaian collaborators has highlighted the emission of PBDEs from electronic waste (E-waste). We detected considerably high concentrations of PBDEs (14 – 21 ng of sum of 46 BDE congeners per g-pellets) at several locations near world biggest E-waste site (Agbogbloshie) in Ghana. These concentrations are comparable to those found in western European countries (0.69 – 13 ng/g) followed by USA (17 – 39 ng/g; except for one rural site) and no such high concentrations of PBDEs were observed in the other African countries including Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa whose PBDE levels were less than 3.9 ng/g. The study has underlined the importance of pellet watch to analyze PBDEs and related chemicals near e-waste sites in the world. This study was partly supported by UNU-IAS.