Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in fish and sediment from river polluted by electronic waste

Qian Luo, Zongwei CAI*, Ming Hung WONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

174 Citations (Scopus)


The present study investigated contamination of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in sediment and fish samples collected from rivers in Guiyu, China where electronic waste (e-waste) is recycled and disposed. PBDE congeners with mono-to hepta-brominated and deca-brominated substitutions were detected using 13C12 isotope dilution GC/MS/MS and GC/MS methods, respectively. The total PBDE concentrations ranged from 4434 to 16088 ng/g (dry weight) in Nanyang River bank sediment, from 55 to 445 ng/g in Nanyang River bottom sediment and 51.3 to 365 ng/g in Lianjiang River bottom sediment in Guiyu compared with those from 16.1 to 21.4 ng/g in wastewater discharged from a vehicle repairing workshop in Lo Uk Tsuen in Hong Kong. No PBDE congeners were detected in bottom sediment and fish from Mai Po Marshes in Hong Kong. The mean concentrations of total PBDEs in mixed muscles of tilapia (Oreochromis spp) from Lianjiang River were 115 ng/g wet weight (ww) and from wastewater in Hong Kong were 4.1 ng/g ww. Highest mean PBDE concentration was obtained in liver (2687 ng/g ww), followed by abdomen muscle (1088 ng/g ww) of bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis) collected from Nanyang River. A significant correlation of concentration of each PBDE congener between sediment and muscle from Guiyu was observed. The present results of total PBDEs in sediment and fish were 10 and 1000 times higher than other studies. Open burning and dumping of e-waste are the major causes of PBDE contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-127
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2007

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Bioaccumulation
  • Correlation
  • E-waste
  • Fish
  • PBDEs
  • Sediment


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