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Organic flame retardants (OFRs) such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and novel halogenated flame retardants (NHFRs) are ubiquitous, persistent, and bioaccumulative contaminants that have been used in consumer goods to slow combustion. In this study, polyethylene passive samplers (PEs) were deployed throughout the lower Great Lakes (Lake Erie and Lake Ontario) to measure OFRs in air and water, calculate air–water exchange fluxes, and investigate spatial trends. Dissolved Σ12BDE was greatest in Lake Ontario near Toronto (18 pg/L), whereas gaseous Σ12BDE was greatest on the southern shoreline of Lake Erie (11 pg/m3). NHFRs were generally below detection limits. Air–water exchange was dominated by absorption of BDEs 47 and 99, ranging from −964 pg/m2/day to −30 pg/m2/day. Σ12BDE in air and water was significantly correlated with surrounding population density, suggesting that phased-out PBDEs continued to be emitted from population centers along the Great Lakes shoreline in 2012. Correlation with dissolved Σ12BDE was strongest when considering population within 25 km while correlation with gaseous Σ12BDE was strongest when using population within 3 km to the south of each site. Bayesian kriging was used to predict dissolved Σ12BDE over the lakes, illustrating the utility of relatively highly spatially resolved measurements in identifying potential hot spots for future study.

BDEs__2012GL_CAM160802_SUPPINFO.docx (2275 kB)
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