Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been widely used as flame retardants in concentrations up to 30 w% of the total mass of the products. Worldwide consumption of technically relevant PBDE mixtures was about 7500 tons (penta-BDEs), 3790 tons (octa-BDEs) and 56,100 tons (deca-BDE) in 2001 and about 50–60% of this total volume was discharged into environment only by agricultural use of sewage sludges. The use of PBDEs was strictly regulated from 2004 onwards due to their high emission load and their effect as endocrine disrupters, neurotoxins, and fertility reducing agents. Nevertheless, soils worldwide are contaminated by gaseous and particle-bound transport of PBDEs. Therefore, the uptake of PBDEs from contaminated agricultural land via crops and the food chain is a major human exposure pathway. However, uptake and intrinsic transport behavior strongly depend on crop specifics and various soil parameters. The relevant exposure and transformation pathways, transport-relevant soil and plant characteristics and both root concentration factor (RCF) and transfer factor (TF) as derivable parameters are addressed and quantified in this chapter. Finally, based on available crop specific data a general statement about the transport behavior of PBDEs in twelve different crops according to relevant PBDE congeners is given.
Part of the book: Flame Retardant and Thermally Insulating Polymers