Farran Mack Redfern1, Wen-Jhy Lee1, Ping Yan 2, John Kennedy Mwangi1, Lin-Chi Wang 3, Chih-Hsuan Shih1

  • 1 Department of Environmental Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 70101, Taiwan
  • 2 School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei 230009, China
  • 3 Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung 83347, Taiwan

Received: December 29, 2016
Revised: April 17, 2017
Accepted: April 17, 2017
Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2016.12.0579  

Cite this article:
Redfern, F.M., Lee, W.J., Yan, P., Mwangi, J.K., Wang, L.C. and Shih, C.H. (2017). Overview and Perspectives on Emissions of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers on a Global Basis: Evaporative and Fugitive Releases from Commercial PBDE Mixtures and Emissions from Combustion Sources. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 17: 1117-1131. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2016.12.0579


  • Studies from different research groups do report PBDE formations in combustion system.
  • Combustion sources are important PBDE emitters to the atmosphere.
  • Mitigation of PBDE emissions from combustion sources can not be ignored.
  • Control of PBDE emissions from combustion sources is as important as ban on deca-BDE.



Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are used as flame retardants, but are of concern due to their potential health risks. PBDEs are ubiquitous in the environment and their occurrence in polar regions highlights the importance of atmospheric transport. As yet, most researches emphasized evaporative and fugitive releases of PBDEs during production, use and waste management phases. However, the recent studies have uncovered the importance of the combustion sources when considering the release of PBDEs into the atmosphere. Nevertheless, complete PBDE emission inventories are lacking, and no global PBDE emissions from combustion sources have been estimated. Therefore, this study estimated the global PBDE emissions from combustion sources and illegal open burning of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and e-waste, as well as evaporative and fugitive releases from commercial PBDE mixtures. We found that combustion sources and illegal open burning of e-waste globally emit PBDEs at 6.75 and 0.255–5.56 tonnes year–1, and are important PBDE emitters. The effectiveness of reducing human exposure to PBDEs will be minimized and delayed if mitigation of PBDE emissions from combustion sources is ignored. Control of PBDE emissions from combustion sources should be taken along with the ban of commercial PBDE mixtures.

Keywords: PBDEs; Open burning; Inventory; Review; Dioxin; E-waste

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