New fire retardants polluting atmosphere

December 15th, 2011 - 2:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 15 (IANS) Compounds used in new fire retardants are showing up in the environment in increasing concentrations, reveals a study.

The study led by Indiana University researchers in Bloomington, reports concentrations of two compounds measured in air samples collected in the Great Lakes region between 2008 and 2010.

The chemicals known as TBB and TBPH, are used to reduce flammability in products such as electronic devices, textiles, plastics, coatings and polyurethane foams, the journal Environmental Science & Technology reported.

They are replacing polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), because of their tendency to leak into the environment, according to a university statement.

“It is rare to find that concentrations of any compound are doubling within a year or two, which is what we are seeing with TBB and TBPH,” said Ronald A. Hites, study co-author and professor in environmental affairs at Indiana.

The researchers measured concentrations of TBB and TBPH in 507 air samples collected at six locations on the shores of the Great Lakes.

Previous studies have found the compounds in sewage sludge in California, marine mammals in Hong Kong and household dust and furniture foam in the US.

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