The air humidity in Antarctica is very low and this peculiar weather parameter make the use of flame retardants in research facilities highly needed for safety reasons, as fires are a major risk. Legacy and novel flame retardants (nFRs) including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs), 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy) ethane (BTBPE), Dechlorane Plus (DP), and other nFRs were measured in indoor dust samples collected at research Stations in Antarctica: Gabriel de Castilla, Spain (GCS), Julio Escudero, Chile (JES), and onboard the RRS James Clark Ross, United Kingdom (RRS JCR). The GC-HRMS and LC-MS-MS analyses of dust samples revealed ∑7PBDEs of 41.5 ± 43.8 ng/g in rooms at GCS, 18.7 ± 11.6 ng/g at JES, and 27.2 ± 37.9 ng/g onboard the RRS JCR. PBDE pattern was different between the sites and most abundant congeners were BDE-183 (40%) at GCS, BDE-99 (50%) at JES, and BDE-153 (37%) onboard the RRS JCR. The ∑(4)HBCDs were 257 ± 407 ng/g, 14.9 ± 14.5 ng/g, and 761 ± 1043 ng/g in indoor dust collected in rooms at GCS, JES, and RRS JCR, respectively. The ∑9nFRs were 224 ± 178 ng/g at GCS, 14.1 ± 13.8 ng/g at JES, and 194 ± 392 ng/g on the RRS JCR. Syn- and anti-DP were detected in most of the samples and both isomers showed the highest concentrations at GCS: 163 ± 93.6 and 48.5 ± 61.1 ng/g, respectively. The laboratory and living room showed the highest concentration of HBCDs, DPs, BTBPE. The wide variations in FR levels in dust from the three research facilities and between differently used rooms reflect the different origin of furnishing, building materials and equipment. The potential health risk associated to a daily exposure via dust ingestion was assessed for selected FRs: BDEs 47, 99, and 153, α-, β-, and γ-HBCD, BTBPE, syn- and anti-DP. Although the estimated exposures are below the available reference doses, caution is needed given the expected increasing use of novel chemicals without a comprehensive toxicological profile.
- Antarctic research facilities
- Novel FRs
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)