Chemosphere (2006)

DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2005.12.013


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are one of the flame retardants widely used in plastics, textiles, electronic appliances, and electrical household appliances. In this study, PBDEs and organochlorine compounds (OCs) were determined in the archived samples from the Environmental Specimen Bank for Global Monitoring (es-BANK) at Ehime University. The blubber of cetaceans found stranded along the coasts of Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and India during the period from 1990 to 2001 were employed for chemical analysis to understand the present status of contamination and the specific accumulation of PBDEs. PBDEs were detected in all the cetacean samples analyzed, and concentrations were one or two orders of magnitude lower than for PCBs and DDTs. Concentrations of PBDEs ranged from a low value of 6.0 ng/g lipid wt. in spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) from India to a high value of 6000 ng/g lipid wt. in Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis) from Hong Kong. No difference in PBDE levels between coastal and offshore species from Japan was observed, implying the existence of pollution sources in this region other than Japan. Highest concentrations of PBDEs were found in animals from Hong Kong, followed by Japan, and much lower levels from the Philippines and India, suggesting that developing nations may also have pollution sources of PBDEs. Geographical distribution of PBDEs in Asian waters was different from PCBs but similar to DDTs.