Factors influencing leaching of PBDEs from waste cathode ray tube plastic housings

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Samples of waste cathode ray tube (CRT) plastic housings were exposed to Milli-Q® water containing dissolved humic matter at concentrations of 0, 100 and 1000mgL(-1) as leaching fluid under laboratory conditions, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) determined in the resulting leachate. Despite the relatively hydrophobic physicochemical properties of PBDEs, concentrations of ƩPBDEs in the leachate from the leaching experiments in this study ranged from 14,000 to 200,000ngL(-1). PBDE leaching appears to be a second order process, whereby a period of initially intense dissolution of more labile PBDEs is followed by a slower stage corresponding to external diffusion of the soluble residue in the material. The bulk of transfer of PBDEs to the leaching fluid occurs within the first 6h of contact, during which time we suggest that the most labile PBDEs are "washed" off the surface of the CRT plastics. The predominant congeners in the chips were BDE-209 (2600mgkg(-1)) and BDE 183 (220mgkg(-1)). The impacts on PBDE leaching of leachate pH and temperature were also examined. Increasing the temperature of leaching fluids from 20 to 80°C, enhances the leachability of BDE-209 and BDE-99 from plastics. In all cases, the alkaline pH8.5 examined, resulted in the greatest PBDE concentrations in leachate. Agitation of the waste/leachate mixture enhances PBDE leaching from CRT plastics. Potential evidence for debromination of heavy congeners to the lower brominated and more bioavailable BDEs was observed. Specifically, BDEs-47, -85 and -100 were detected in the leachates, but were absent from the CRT plastics themselves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1004-1012
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date18 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Polybrominated diphenyl ether
  • E-waste
  • Brominated flame retardants
  • Leachate


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