Searching for alternative flame retardants and pasticizers over the Global Oceans
Organophosphate esters (OPEs) are widely used as flame retardants and plasticizers and have been detected ubiquitously in the remote atmosphere. Fourteen
OPEs were analyzed in 115 aerosol phase samples collected from the tropical and subtropical Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans during the MALASPINA circumnavigation campaign. OPEs were detected in all samples with concentrations ranging from 360 to 4400 pg m−3 for the sum of compounds. No clear concentration trends were found between the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The pattern was generally dominated by tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCPP), although tri-nbutyl phosphate (TnBP) had a predominant role in samples close to continents and in those influenced by air masses originating in continents. The dry deposition fluxes of aerosol phase Σ14OPE ranged from 4 to 140 ng m−2 d−1. An estimation of the OPE gas phase concentration and gross absorption fluxes by using three different sets of physical chemical properties suggested that the atmosphere−ocean diffusive exchange of OPEs could be 2−3 orders of magnitude larger than dry deposition. The associated organic phosphorus inputs coming from diffusive OPE fluxes were estimated to potentially trigger up to 1.0% of the reported primary production in the most oligotrophic oceanic regions. However, the uncertainty associated with these calculations is high and mostly driven by the uncertainty of the physical chemical properties of OPEs. Further constraints of the physical chemical properties and fluxes of OPEs are urgently needed, in order to estimate their environmental fate and relevance as a diffusive source of new organic phosphorus to the ocean.
Most relevant scientific output:
Castro-Jiménez Javier, González-Gaya Belen, Mriana Pizarro, Paulo Casal, Cristina Pizarro-Alvarez, Jordi Dachs. Organophosphate Ester Flame Retardants and Plasticizers in the Global Oceanic Atmosphere. Environmental Science and Technology 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b04344