Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) in the environment and humans: A review

A. Covaci, A.C. Gerecke, R.J. Law, S. Voorspoels, M. Kohler, N.V. Heeb, H. Leslie, C.R. Allchin, J. de Boer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    553 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) are brominated aliphatic cyclic hydrocarbons used as flame retardants in thermal insulation building materials, upholstery textiles, and electronics. As a result of their widespread use and their physical and chemical properties, HBCDs are now ubiquitous contaminants in the environment and humans. This review summarizes HBCD concentrations in several environmental compartments and analyzes these data in terms of point sources versus diffuse sources, biomagnification potential, stereoisomer profiles, time trends, and global distribution. Generally, higher concentrations were measured in samples (air, sediment, and fish) collected near point sources (plants producing or processing HBCDs), while lower concentrations were recorded in samples from locations with no obvious sources of HBCDs. High concentrations were measured in top predators, such as marine mammals and birds of prey (up to 9600 and 19 200 ng/g lipid weight, respectively), suggesting a biomagnification potential for HBCDs. Relatively low HBCD concentrations were reported in the few human studies conducted to date (median values varied between 0.35 and 1.1 ng/g lipid weight). HBCD levels in biota are increasing slowly and seem to reflect the local market demand. One important observation is the shift from the high percentage of the gamma-HBCD stereoisomer in the technical products to a dominance of the alpha-HBCD stereoisomer in biological samples. A combination of factors such as variations in solubility, partitioning behavior, uptake, and, possibly, selective metabolism of individual isomers may explain the observed changes in stereoisomer patterns. Recommendations for further work include research on how HBCDs are transferred from products into the environment upon production, use, and disposal. Time trends need to be analyzed more in detail, including HBCD stereoisomers, and more data on terrestrial organisms are needed, especially for humans. Whenever possible, HBCDs should be analyzed as individual stereoisomers in order to address their fate and effects.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3679-3688
    JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
    Volume40
    Issue number12
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Fingerprint

    point source
    lipid
    Stereoisomerism
    marine mammal
    research work
    biota
    chemical property
    solubility
    partitioning
    physical property
    metabolism
    predator
    hydrocarbon
    market
    pollutant
    air
    fish
    sediment
    trend
    product

    Keywords

    • brominated flame retardants
    • polybrominated diphenyl ethers
    • tetrabromobisphenol-a
    • scheldt estuary
    • baltic sea
    • sediment
    • eggs
    • cytochrome-p450
    • wildlife
    • sweden

    Cite this

    Covaci, A., Gerecke, A. C., Law, R. J., Voorspoels, S., Kohler, M., Heeb, N. V., ... de Boer, J. (2006). Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) in the environment and humans: A review. Environmental Science and Technology, 40(12), 3679-3688. https://doi.org/10.1021/es0602492
    Covaci, A. ; Gerecke, A.C. ; Law, R.J. ; Voorspoels, S. ; Kohler, M. ; Heeb, N.V. ; Leslie, H. ; Allchin, C.R. ; de Boer, J. / Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) in the environment and humans: A review. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2006 ; Vol. 40, No. 12. pp. 3679-3688.
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    abstract = "Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) are brominated aliphatic cyclic hydrocarbons used as flame retardants in thermal insulation building materials, upholstery textiles, and electronics. As a result of their widespread use and their physical and chemical properties, HBCDs are now ubiquitous contaminants in the environment and humans. This review summarizes HBCD concentrations in several environmental compartments and analyzes these data in terms of point sources versus diffuse sources, biomagnification potential, stereoisomer profiles, time trends, and global distribution. Generally, higher concentrations were measured in samples (air, sediment, and fish) collected near point sources (plants producing or processing HBCDs), while lower concentrations were recorded in samples from locations with no obvious sources of HBCDs. High concentrations were measured in top predators, such as marine mammals and birds of prey (up to 9600 and 19 200 ng/g lipid weight, respectively), suggesting a biomagnification potential for HBCDs. Relatively low HBCD concentrations were reported in the few human studies conducted to date (median values varied between 0.35 and 1.1 ng/g lipid weight). HBCD levels in biota are increasing slowly and seem to reflect the local market demand. One important observation is the shift from the high percentage of the gamma-HBCD stereoisomer in the technical products to a dominance of the alpha-HBCD stereoisomer in biological samples. A combination of factors such as variations in solubility, partitioning behavior, uptake, and, possibly, selective metabolism of individual isomers may explain the observed changes in stereoisomer patterns. Recommendations for further work include research on how HBCDs are transferred from products into the environment upon production, use, and disposal. Time trends need to be analyzed more in detail, including HBCD stereoisomers, and more data on terrestrial organisms are needed, especially for humans. Whenever possible, HBCDs should be analyzed as individual stereoisomers in order to address their fate and effects.",
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    Covaci, A, Gerecke, AC, Law, RJ, Voorspoels, S, Kohler, M, Heeb, NV, Leslie, H, Allchin, CR & de Boer, J 2006, 'Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) in the environment and humans: A review', Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 40, no. 12, pp. 3679-3688. https://doi.org/10.1021/es0602492

    Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) in the environment and humans: A review. / Covaci, A.; Gerecke, A.C.; Law, R.J.; Voorspoels, S.; Kohler, M.; Heeb, N.V.; Leslie, H.; Allchin, C.R.; de Boer, J.

    In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 40, No. 12, 2006, p. 3679-3688.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) in the environment and humans: A review

    AU - Covaci, A.

    AU - Gerecke, A.C.

    AU - Law, R.J.

    AU - Voorspoels, S.

    AU - Kohler, M.

    AU - Heeb, N.V.

    AU - Leslie, H.

    AU - Allchin, C.R.

    AU - de Boer, J.

    N1 - ISI Document Delivery No.: 052FJ Times Cited: 11 Cited Reference Count: 86

    PY - 2006

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    N2 - Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) are brominated aliphatic cyclic hydrocarbons used as flame retardants in thermal insulation building materials, upholstery textiles, and electronics. As a result of their widespread use and their physical and chemical properties, HBCDs are now ubiquitous contaminants in the environment and humans. This review summarizes HBCD concentrations in several environmental compartments and analyzes these data in terms of point sources versus diffuse sources, biomagnification potential, stereoisomer profiles, time trends, and global distribution. Generally, higher concentrations were measured in samples (air, sediment, and fish) collected near point sources (plants producing or processing HBCDs), while lower concentrations were recorded in samples from locations with no obvious sources of HBCDs. High concentrations were measured in top predators, such as marine mammals and birds of prey (up to 9600 and 19 200 ng/g lipid weight, respectively), suggesting a biomagnification potential for HBCDs. Relatively low HBCD concentrations were reported in the few human studies conducted to date (median values varied between 0.35 and 1.1 ng/g lipid weight). HBCD levels in biota are increasing slowly and seem to reflect the local market demand. One important observation is the shift from the high percentage of the gamma-HBCD stereoisomer in the technical products to a dominance of the alpha-HBCD stereoisomer in biological samples. A combination of factors such as variations in solubility, partitioning behavior, uptake, and, possibly, selective metabolism of individual isomers may explain the observed changes in stereoisomer patterns. Recommendations for further work include research on how HBCDs are transferred from products into the environment upon production, use, and disposal. Time trends need to be analyzed more in detail, including HBCD stereoisomers, and more data on terrestrial organisms are needed, especially for humans. Whenever possible, HBCDs should be analyzed as individual stereoisomers in order to address their fate and effects.

    AB - Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) are brominated aliphatic cyclic hydrocarbons used as flame retardants in thermal insulation building materials, upholstery textiles, and electronics. As a result of their widespread use and their physical and chemical properties, HBCDs are now ubiquitous contaminants in the environment and humans. This review summarizes HBCD concentrations in several environmental compartments and analyzes these data in terms of point sources versus diffuse sources, biomagnification potential, stereoisomer profiles, time trends, and global distribution. Generally, higher concentrations were measured in samples (air, sediment, and fish) collected near point sources (plants producing or processing HBCDs), while lower concentrations were recorded in samples from locations with no obvious sources of HBCDs. High concentrations were measured in top predators, such as marine mammals and birds of prey (up to 9600 and 19 200 ng/g lipid weight, respectively), suggesting a biomagnification potential for HBCDs. Relatively low HBCD concentrations were reported in the few human studies conducted to date (median values varied between 0.35 and 1.1 ng/g lipid weight). HBCD levels in biota are increasing slowly and seem to reflect the local market demand. One important observation is the shift from the high percentage of the gamma-HBCD stereoisomer in the technical products to a dominance of the alpha-HBCD stereoisomer in biological samples. A combination of factors such as variations in solubility, partitioning behavior, uptake, and, possibly, selective metabolism of individual isomers may explain the observed changes in stereoisomer patterns. Recommendations for further work include research on how HBCDs are transferred from products into the environment upon production, use, and disposal. Time trends need to be analyzed more in detail, including HBCD stereoisomers, and more data on terrestrial organisms are needed, especially for humans. Whenever possible, HBCDs should be analyzed as individual stereoisomers in order to address their fate and effects.

    KW - brominated flame retardants

    KW - polybrominated diphenyl ethers

    KW - tetrabromobisphenol-a

    KW - scheldt estuary

    KW - baltic sea

    KW - sediment

    KW - eggs

    KW - cytochrome-p450

    KW - wildlife

    KW - sweden

    U2 - 10.1021/es0602492

    DO - 10.1021/es0602492

    M3 - Article

    VL - 40

    SP - 3679

    EP - 3688

    JO - Environmental Science and Technology

    JF - Environmental Science and Technology

    SN - 0013-936X

    IS - 12

    ER -

    Covaci A, Gerecke AC, Law RJ, Voorspoels S, Kohler M, Heeb NV et al. Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) in the environment and humans: A review. Environmental Science and Technology. 2006;40(12):3679-3688. https://doi.org/10.1021/es0602492