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The transformation of hexabromocyclododecane in aerobic and anaerobic soils and aquatic sediments

Elsevier Ltd
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2004.11.024
  • Fire Retardants
  • Degradation
  • Soil
  • Sediment
  • Environmental Fate
  • Biology


Abstract The biological transformation of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), a brominated fire retardant commonly used in a variety of consumer goods, was investigated in aerobic and anaerobic soils and freshwater sediments. Soil, river water, and aquatic sediments were collected from several locations in the United States and transformation of HBCD was evaluated in the correspondingly composed microcosms based on the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) Test Guidelines 307 ( Aerobic and Anaerobic Transformation in Soil) or 308 ( Aerobic and Anaerobic Transformation in Aquatic Sediment Systems). Soil and sediment reaction mixtures, prepared under either aerobic or anoxic conditions, were dosed with HBCD at a concentration ranging from ∼10 to 80 ng/g dry weight. The soils and sediments were then placed at 20 °C for approximately 4 months and the concentration of HBCD in the microcosms was determined at selected time intervals utilizing high-performance liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC–MS). HBCD loss was observed in both the aerobic and anaerobic soils and sediments although the rates were appreciable faster under anoxic conditions. Biologically mediated transformation processes (i.e., biotransformation) accelerated the rate of loss of HBCD when compared to the biologically inhibited (i.e., autoclaved) soils and sediments. Biotransformation half-lives for HBCD were determined to be 63 and 6.9 days in the aerobic and anaerobic soils, respectively, while biotransformation half-lives for HBCD in the two river systems ranged from 11 to 32 days and 1.1 to 1.5 days under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, respectively. Brominated degradation products were not detected in any of the soils or sediments during the course of the study.

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