Presence and Photo-chemical Breakdown of BFRs in Vehicle 2009-01-1301
The presence and potential health effects of toxic chemicals found in vehicle interiors are receiving increasing attention. For example, recent Greek studies of active cabin air samples in 2006/08 models have revealed high concentrations of lower brominated flame retardants (BFRs) that were banned in 2005. Our investigation of 11 interior vehicle components of over 400 domestic and imported 2006–2008 models using X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF) reveals widespread use of (BFRs), PVC, and selected heavy metals.
In addition to these data we present results on the formation of lower brominated flame retardants via photodegradation of deca-bromodiphenylether (deca-BDE) facilitated by solar radiation and elevated temperatures comparable to those in vehicles.
Experiments using sealed quartz ampoules containing deca-BDE in nonane show complete photo-chemical degradation of deca-BDE after exposure to sunlight for 97.6 hours under environmental conditions representative of vehicle interiors. Degradation products include tetra, penta, hexa, hepta, octa, and some nona-BDEs. Bromine mass balances in terms of PBDEs found after exposure range between 37% for longest and 85 % for intermediate exposures, respectively. The unaccounted bromine in mass balances indicate formation of sofar unknown reaction products. Exposure of passengers to toxic degradation products of deca-BDE is an important health concern and the phase-out of BFR use in automobiles is recommended.