Freely dissolved PBDEs in water and porewater of an urban estuary

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Polyethylene passive samplers (PE) were deployed in Narragansett Bay, RI, to examine freely dissolved concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in surface, bottom, and sediment porewater. PBDE congeners in the water column and porewater were below 3 pg L -1. In the surface water, only PBDE congeners containing up to 5 bromines were detected, while in the deeper water congeners 153 and 154 (6 bromines) were also detected. Activity ratios of surface-bottom water and porewater-bottom water suggested that lower brominated (di-tetra) congeners reached Narragansett Bay from surface waters and sediments. PBDEs in the surface water probably originated from a combination of air-water exchange, freshwater runoff, rivers, and wastewater treatment plants. It is suggested that deep water was the source of higher brominated PBDEs to the Bay implying that the more hydrophobic PBDEs reached depth on particles and/or that these congeners were degraded in sediments. On-going sources supply PBDEs to Narragansett Bay. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Environmental Pollution