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Polybrominated diphenyl ethers listed as Stockholm Convention POPs, other brominated flame retardants and heavy metals in e-waste polymers in Nigeria

: Sindiku, Omotayo; Babayemi, Joshua; Osibanjo, Oladele; Schlummer, Martin; Schluep, Mathias; Watson, Alan; Weber, Roland


Environmental science and pollution research international : ESPR 22 (2015), No.19, pp.14489-14501
ISSN: 0944-1344
ISSN: 1614-7499
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IVV ()

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were the first brominated persistent organic pollutants (POPs) listed in the Stockholm Convention. Parties to the convention are currently establishing inventories for developing action plans for the environmentally sound management of PBDE-containing materials. The major use of commercial octabromodiphenyl ether (c-OctaBDE) has been in casings from cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs and computer monitors. Large quantities of used e-waste and electronic equipment have been exported to developing countries with Nigeria being a major importer in Africa. The casings from 382 TVs and computers imported from major world regions to Nigeria were sampled in backyards and waste dumps. The samples were screened with X-ray flourescence (XRF) for bromine and analysed by gas chromatography/ electron capture detection (GC/ECD) for brominated flame retardants (BFRs). A high proportion of the CRT casings (61 %) contained more than 10,000 ppm bromine from BFRs. Decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE) was the major flame retardant used in TV sets and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) for computer CRTs.
The screening suggests that average PBDE levels (of c-OctaBDE + DecaBDE) in Nigerian-stockpiled CRT casings were 1.1 % for TV and 0.13 % for PC CRTs. These are above the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) limit and should be separated for RoHS compliant recycling. The Nigerian e-waste inventory of 237,000 t of CRT plastic would therefore contain approx. 594 t c-OctaBDE and 1,880 t of DecaBDE. In Nigeria, as for most developing countries, there is currently no adequate e-waste management, plastic separation or destruction capacity. The data highlight the urgent need to develop environmentally sound management for this large material flow.