Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in leachates from selected landfill sites in South Africa

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The last few decades have seen dramatic growth in the scale of production and the use of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) as flame retardants. Consequently, PBDEs such as BDE -28, -47, -66, -71, -75, -77, -85, -99, -100, -119, -138, -153, -154, and -183 have been detected in various environmental matrices. Generally, in South Africa, once the products containing these chemicals have outlived their usefulness, they are discarded into landfill sites. Consequently, the levels of PBDEs in leachates from landfill sites may give an indication of the general exposure and use of these compounds. The present study was aimed at determining the occurrence and concentrations of most common PBDEs in leachates from selected landfill sites. The extraction capacities of the solvents were also tested. Spiked landfill leachate samples were used for the recovery tests. Separation and determination of the PBDE congeners were carried out with a gas chromatograph equipped with Ni63 electron capture detector. The mean percentage recoveries ranged from 63% to 108% (n = 3) for landfill leachate samples with petroleum ether giving the highest percentage extraction. The mean concentrations of PBDEs obtained ranged from ND to 2670 pg l-1, ND to 6638 pg l-1, ND to 7230 pg l-1, 41 to 4009 pg l-1, 90 to 9793 pg l-1 for the Garankuwa, Hatherly, Kwaggarsrand, Soshanguve and Temba landfill sites, respectively. Also BDE -28, -47, -71 and BDE-77 were detected in the leachate samples from all the landfill sites; and all the congeners were detected in two of the oldest landfill sites. The peak concentrations were recorded for BDE-47 at three sites and BDE-71 and BDE-75 at two sites. The highest concentration, 9793 ± 1.5 pg l-1, was obtained for the Temba landfill site with the highest BOD value. This may suggest some influence of organics on the level of PBDEs. Considering the leaching characteristics of brominated flame retardants, there is a high possibility that with time these compounds may infiltrate into the groundwater around the sites since most of the sites are not adequately lined. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Odusanya, D. O., Okonkwo, J. O., & Botha, B. (2009). Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in leachates from selected landfill sites in South Africa. Waste Management, 29(1), 96–102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2008.02.011

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