Spatial distribution of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in southern Ontario as measured in indoor and outdoor window organic films

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Organic films were collected from indoor and outdoor window surfaces, along an urban-rural transect extending northward from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and analyzed for 41 polybrominated diphenyl ether congeners (PBDE). For exterior films, urban SigmaPBDE concentrations were similar to10x greater than rural concentrations, indicating an urban-rural gradient and greater PBDE sources in urban areas. Urban films ranged from 2.5 to 14.5 ng/m(2) (mean = 9.0 ng/m(2)), excluding the regional "hotspot" Electronics Recycling Facility, compared to 1.1 and 0.56 ng/m(2) at the Suburban and Rural sites. Interior urban films (mean = 34.4 ng/m(2)) were 3 times greater than rural films (10.3 ng/m(2)) and were representative of variations in building characteristics. Indoor films were 1.5-20 times greater than outdoor films, consistent with indoor sources of HOES and enhanced degradation in outdoor films. Congener profiles were dominated by BDE-209 (51.1%), consistent with deca-BDE as the main source mixture, followed by congeners from the penta-BDE mixture (BDE-99:13.6% and -47:9.4%) and some octa-BDE (BDE-183:1.5%). Congener patterns suggest a degradative loss of lower brominated compounds in outdoor films versus indoor films. Gas-phase air concentrations were back-calculated from film concentrations using the film-air partition coefficient (K-FA). Mean calculated air concentrations were 4.8 pg/m(3) for outdoor and 42.1 pg/m(3) for indoor urban sites, indicating that urban indoor air is a source of PBDEs to urban outdoor air and the outdoor regional environment.


  • CM Butt
  • ML Diamond
  • J Truong
  • MG Ikonomou
  • Arnout ter Schure
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)724-731
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch