Serum concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and a polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) in men from Greenland, Poland and Ukraine

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Many brominated flame retardants (BFRs)-including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)-have been shown to persist in the environment, and some have been associated with adverse health effects. The aim of the present study was to quantify serum concentrations of common brominated flame retardants in Inuit men from across Greenland, and in men from Warsaw, Poland and Kharkiv, Ukraine. Serum was sampled between 2002 and 2004 from men 19 to 50 years of age. 299 samples were analyzed for BDE-28, 47, 99, 100, 153, 154 and 183 and the brominated biphenyl BB-153 using gas chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry. BDE-47 and BDE-153 were detected in more than 95% of samples from all three populations. All other congeners, except BDE-154, were detected in more than 70% of samples from Greenland; lower detection frequencies were observed in Polish and Ukrainian samples. Concentrations of individual congeners were 2.7 to 15 fold higher in Greenlandic relative to Polish and Ukrainian men. Geometric mean concentrations of the sum of the most abundant PBDEs of the Penta-BDE commercial mixture (BDE-47, 99, 100, 153 and 154) were 6.1, 1.7 and 0.87 ng/g lipids in the Greenlandic, Polish and Ukrainian men, respectively. Furthermore, significant geographical differences in BFR concentrations were observed within Greenland. Principal component analysis revealed distinct clustering of samples by country of origin. The associations between Sigma PBDEs and age were inconsistent, varying from no association in Greenlandic and Polish study populations to a U-shaped relationship in Ukrainians. We report BFR levels for three populations for which sparse biomonitoring data exists. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Virissa Lenters
  • Cathrine Thomsen
  • Lidwien A. M. Smit
  • Bo A Jönsson
  • Henning S. Pedersen
  • Jan K. Ludwicki
  • Valentyna Zviezdai
  • Aldert H. Piersma
  • Gunnar Toft
  • Jens Peter Bonde
  • Georg Becher
  • Roel Vermeulen
  • Dick Heederik
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health


  • Brominated flame retardants, PBDE, Congener profile, Human exposure, Greenland, Inuit
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-16
JournalEnvironment International
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch