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(P122) Polyurethane foam as a source of PBDEs to the environment.
Wilford, Bryony*,1, Alcock, Ruth1, Thomas, Gareth1, Jones, Kevin1, 1 Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
ABSTRACT- Penta-brominated diphenyl ether (penta-BDE) is a commercial mix containing mainly tetra- and penta-BDEs, particularly BDE-47 and BDE-99. This product is principally used to flame-retard polyurethane foam for a variety of purposes including cushioning materials, packaging and insulation. Since 1988 UK fire regulations have required all foams to be flame retarded. This has resulted in an increased use of flame-retardant products including Penta-BDE. Despite restrictions and a recent ban on use, significant concentrations of lower-brominated congeners are found in numerous environmental compartments, with increasing levels in human tissues. Although data on environmental levels of these congeners are available, information on their sources and pathways to the environment is very limited. We hypothesise that reservoirs of the Penta-product present within polyurethane foam (either as a result of historical use in the UK or in imported goods) could represent a sizeable contribution to both historical and contemporary releases of these contaminants to air. Based on recent inventory work, we have conducted a survey of likely sources of the commercial Penta-mix BDEs in the UK. In excess of 100 samples of a variety of furnishing foams used in the home/office and in vehicles have been analysed. Initial results suggest that vehicles imported from regions where Penta is still used contain elevated concentrations of these contaminants. Chamber studies are underway to quantify the potential for release of BDEs from flame-retarded foams into the air.
Key words: PBDEs, polyurethane foam, emissions
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