OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess the contamination level of aquatic ecosystems of the Svitava River, situated in the South Moravian Region (Czech Republic), by residues of selected brominated flame retardants. We isolated and determined seven indicator PBDE congeners in samples of surface water and bottom sediments using optimized analytical methods.
DESIGN: Samples were collected from eight locations along the river basin, particularly near the larger cities in order to assess their possible impact on the aquatic ecosystems. Isolation of selected analytes was performed using the methods of liquid-liquid extraction and cold extraction. Column chromatography and rotary vacuum evaporation were used for the purification and pre-concentration of extracts. Final identification and quantification were carried out by gas chromatography coupled with electron capture detector (GC/ECD).
RESULTS: The sum of PBDEs was calculated for individual BDE congeners. Average concentrations of the sum of PBDEs ranged from 56.35 to 614.0 µg.kg-1 of the dry matter in sediment, and concentrations under the detection limits (<LOD) up to 335.3 ng.L-1 in water. The most loaded locations were Adamov, Brno-Tuřany and the location near the former Essler textile factory.
CONCLUSIONS: Monitoring of PBDEs in the environment, especially in the aquatic ecosystem, is a topical issue due to their growing worldwide application as flame retardants in many products of daily use. Results of this study documented not only potential sources of contamination in the most polluted locations, but also confirmed the lasting presence and accumulation of PBDEs in the environment.