The Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) has developed methods for analysis and undertakes several projects to structure the know-ledge on Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in the environment.
Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are a group of organic compounds used as additives to electronic equipments, furnitures, textiles, plastics and isolation materials for their flame retardant properties.
The most commonly used BFRs are the brominated diphenylethers (PBDE), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA) with a world annual use of approximately 150 000 ton. The annual use of BFRs in Norway is approximately 300 ton.
The start of a fire can occur spontaneously or result from an external source, such as a flame. It is generally assumed that BFRs, during strong heat, liberate hydrogen bromide, which react with the free radicals responsible for the propagation of combustion and suppress it. The decomposition of the bromined flame retardant will occur approximately 50ºC below that of the polymer.
BFR as environmental contaminants
The extensive use of BFRs and their structural similarity to the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins make them potential environmental hazards. The BFRs may leak into the environment from products containing the substances, and be spread by atmospheric and aquatic transport. The BFRs are persistent and bioaccumulate in the biota. BFRs are even found in considerable amounts in mother’s milk.
The highest concentrations are found in animals which are at the top of the trophic levels and which have based their nourishment on food with marine or limnic origin. Screening of the levels of Penta-BDEs in Norwegian lakes revealed that fish from lake Mjøsa have very high levels of these compounds compared to other lakes. These findings indicate that lake Mjøsa is exposed to local sources of pollution.
Are brominated flame retardants toxic?
BFRs have a low acute toxicity, but are suspected to be harmful during long term exposure. The toxic effects resemble the toxic effects of the PCBs, and include effects on immune-, nervous- and endocrine system.
Infants exposed to environmental contaminants during their mother’s pregnancy are especially vulnerable since they are not yet fully developed. For the same reasons the findings of environmental contaminants in mother’s milk is of concern, although the advantage of nursing is not questioned.
Animals, which periodically suffer from starvation, are also vulnerable since environmental toxins may then redistribute from the fat deposits to blood and brain. Although the toxic effects of BFRs are claimed to be less than those observed for the PCBs, they will contribute as an additional load to the biota together with other types of pollution.
Research at NILU
To achieve more knowledge, NILU has several on-going projects to strengthen the national competence concerning sources, spread, exposure and toxic effects of environmental contaminants such as the BFRs. On the basis of findings in the environment, the Norwegian pollution authorities have now implemented actions to reduce the release and industrial use of the most toxic and environmental persistent BFRs.
Ceramic pot filter (CPF) technology is a relatively common means of household water treatment in developing areas, and performance characteristics of CPFs have been characterized using production CPFs, experimental CPFs fabricated in research laboratories, and ceramic disks intended to be CPF surrogates. There is evidence that CPF manufacturers do not always fire their products according to best practices and the result is incomplete combustion of the pore forming material and the creation of a carbon core in the...
Gasmet Technologies has published a free White Paper and a video on the simultaneous measurement of multiple gases in a wide variety of applications using FTIR. Both the video and the White Paper can be found here at www.gasmet.com or by visiting the Quantitech stand 62/63 at AQE 2017.
With the ability to measure almost any gas, FTIR technology is employed in an enormous variety of applications including Continuous Emissions Monitoring, Stack Testing, Process Control, Industrial Hygiene, Engine Emissions,...
Airborne Engineering Limited (AEL) specialises in measurement, testing and research; particularly of advanced rocket propulsion systems. One of AEL’s principle services is carrying out static tests of rocket engines for other aerospace companies. AEL is based at Westcott Venture Park, formerly the Rocket Propulsion Establishment, and operates two test bunkers, purpose built in 1949 for rocket and turbo-pump tests. AEL has refurbished the bunkers and outfitted them with state-of-the-art equipment and instrumen...
Chief among these safety features is fire protection. There are myriad codes and regulations relating to fire safety in commercial buildings, from standards on portable fire extinguishers to the installation of stationary pumps for fire protection — the U.S.- based National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) alone has more than 300 consensus codes that have been adopted in whole or in part in countries throughout the world.
As rapid urbanization around the globe continues to spur construction of high-rise...
Quantitech has announced the publication of a free White Paper on the simultaneous measurement of multiple gases in a wide variety of applications using FTIR (Fourier Transform InfraRed) technology.
With the ability to measure almost any gas, FTIR monitoring technology is employed in an enormous variety of applications including Continuous Emissions Monitoring, Stack Testing, Process Control, Industrial Hygiene, Engine Emissions, Semiconductor Manufacturing, Emergency / First Response, Greenhouse Gas Monitoring,...