Increased interest in the fate, transport and toxicity of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) over the past few years has led to a variety of studies reporting different methods of analysis for these persistent organic pollutants. Because PBDEs encompass a range of vapor pressures, molecular weights and degrees of bromine substitution, various analytical methods can lead to discrimination of some PBDE congeners. Recent improvements in injection techniques and mass spectrometer ionization methods have led to a variety of options to determine PBDEs in environmental samples. The purpose of this paper is therefore to review the available literature describing the advantages and disadvantages in choosing an injection technique, gas chromatography column and detector. Additional discussion is given to the challenges in measuring PBDEs, including potential chromatographic interferences and the lack of commercial standards for higher brominated congeners, which provides difficulties in examining degradation and debromination of BDE congeners, particularly for BDE 209.
Keywords: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers . Brominated flame retardants . Methods . Analysis . Review