Temporal trends in radiometrically dated sediment cores from English lakes show polybrominated diphenyl ethers correlate with brominated but not mixed bromo/chloro dioxins and furans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Leon I. Peters
  • Neil L. Rose
  • Handong Yang
  • Jana Klánová
  • Thomas Moehring

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • UCL
  • Masaryk University
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific (GmbH) Bremen


This paper reports concentrations between ~1950 and present, of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PBDD/Fs), in radiometrically-dated sediment cores from three English lakes. Mixed bromo/chloro dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PXDD/Fs) were measured in two of the same lakes. Concentrations of PXDD/Fs decreased over time to the present. To our knowledge, this is the first report of temporal trends of PXDD/Fs in the environment. In contrast, concentrations of PBDEs increased towards the present and were significantly correlated (R = 0.88–0.98; p < 0.05) with concentrations of PBDFs in all three lakes. These observations suggest that the sources of PXDD/Fs are not related to PBDEs and differ from those of PBDFs. We also report for the first time the presence of octabromodibenzofuran (OBDF) in the two most recent core slices at one lake. The source of OBDF in these samples is unclear. While OBDF has been reported previously as a significant contaminant of some commercial formulations of Deca-BDE, it is also present in Octa-BDE products and in emissions from a variety of combustion activities. Overall, while the positive correlation between PBDEs and PBDFs suggests increased use of PBDEs has contributed substantially to environmental contamination with PBDFs; examination of PBDF homologue patterns implies emissions from combustion activities are likely also important.


Original languageEnglish
Article number143118
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date21 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2021


  • Lakes, PBDD/Fs, PBDEs, PXDD/Fs, Sources, Time trends