Brominated flame retardants and dechloranes in eels from German Rivers


The levels of PBDEs, alternate BFRs and dechloranes in European Eel (Anguilla anguilla) samples (elvers, yellow and silver eels) were investigated to compare the contamination of eels from the rivers Elbe and Rhine and to estimate the BFR contamination throughout the eel’s life cycle. PBDEs were the dominating flame retardants (FRs) in muscle tissues of yellow and silver eels, while the alternate BFR 2,3-dibromopropyl-2,4,6-tribromophenyl ether (DPTE) and the Dechlorane 602 were the dominating FRs in elvers (juvenile eels). Concentrations of FRs in silver eels from river Rhine were generally higher than concentrations in other eels analysed with up to 46 ng g−1 wet weight (ww) ∑PBDEs. The concentrations in yellow and silver eels from river Elbe were similar with an average of 9.0 ± 5.1 ng g−1 ww and 8.1 ± 3.7 ng g−1 ww respectively. PBDE concentrations in elvers were comparably low (0.02 (BDE-100) to 0.1 (BDE-183) ng g−1 ww), which lead to the conclusion that these contaminants were mostly ingested within the rivers. Among the alternate BFRs and dechloranes, DPTE as well as the Dechlorane 602 and Dechlorane Plus (DP) were found in all life cycle stages and rivers with concentrations between 0.01 ng g−1 ww and 0.7 ng g−1 ww. Dechlorane 603 could only be detected in silver eels from river Rhine. Pentabromoethylbenzene (PBEB) was only found in yellow and silver eels and bis(2-ethylhexyl)tetrabromophthalate (BEHTBP) could only be detected in elvers. These are the first reports of Dec-602 and 603 in aquatic organisms from Europe. The results of this study show the lasting relevance of PBDEs as contaminants in rivers and river-dwelling species but also the growing relevance of emerging contaminants such as alternate BFRs and dechloranes.
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