An intercalibration study on organobromine compounds: Results on polybrominated diphenylethers and related dioxin-like compounds

Takahashi, S; Sakai, S; Watanabe, I (2006) Chemosphere, 64(2): 234-244

An intercalibration study on organobromine compounds has been conducted to evaluate the accuracy and reliability in the analysis of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and their related compounds like polybrominated and monobromo-polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and -furans (PBDDs/DFs, MoBPCDDs/DFs). This paper reports the results for these compounds in 'Mixed Standard Solutions' and 'Air-Dried Sediment'. The relative standard deviations (RSDs) for PBDEs, PBDDs/DFs and MoBPCDDs/DFs in mixed standard solutions ranged from 9% to 24%, 4% to 20% and 8% to 27%, respectively. The results of this study are better than those reported in earlier international interlaboratory studies due to general improvement in analytical methods and an increasing number of available authentic standards, particularly for PBDEs. In the analysis for higher brominated compounds such as octabromodibenzodioxin, the participants were advised to optimize the calibration curves befitting the range of concentrations found in samples because variation of relative response factors was noted. The results for 'Air-Dried Sediment' were also reasonable with RSDs from 10% to 38% for PBDEs, 8% to 38% for PBDDs/DFs and 17% to 36% for MoBPCDDs/DFs. In the sediment sample, possible errors in the sample pretreatment and/or interference by other compounds/impurities were indicated. The concentrations of pentabromodiphenylether, BDE100, varied more than the other PBDE isomers due to its poor separation in some chromatographic conditions. In addition, interference by PBDEs was observed in the analysis for PBDFs. Potential degradation/secondary formulation of PBDEs and PBDFs during the Soxhlet extraction were suggested when copper powder was added into the sediment samples. Inspite of these observations, the results in this study are better than those reported in other interlaboratory studies due to the advice given to participants for improving the results. Compared with the results for PCDDs/DFs (5-23% RSDs) and Co-PCBs (6 24% RSDs), the RSDs for most of the organobromine compounds were high, indicating an immature QA/QC approach for the analysis of PBDEs and related compounds in comparison to common chlorinated dioxins.