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Exponent Publishes Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether-related Article in "Environmental Science and Technology"


October 7, 2010

Exponent Scientist, Dr. Sungwoo Ahn, is a coauthor of an article just published in the prestigious journal – Environmental Science and Technology. Dr. Ahn is a Senior Scientist in the Environmental and Earth Sciences practice and is based in the Bellevue, WA office. A brief summary of the article follows:

The use of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), a class of brominated flame-retardants, has greatly expanded over the past several decades in various industrial and consumer products. As a result, levels of PBDEs in the environment have increased exponentially in the past 30 years. Among the pool of environmentally important PBDE congeners, the less brominated congeners are of particular concern. These compounds are found throughout the globe, even in the Arctic; they bioaccumulate in animal tissue, and they are more toxic compared to more highly brominated congeners. As a remedial technology, Dr. Ahn and his co-authors investigated environmental nanotechnology using nano-scale zerovalent iron particles (nZVI) to degrade selected less brominated congeners and studied the reaction kinetics and degradation pathways under reaction with nZVI. This study successfully demonstrated that nZVI could effectively degrade the tested PBDEs. It also highlighted the degradation pathways identified with positional preference of debromination, which may help explain the prevalence of less brominated congeners in the environment. These findings may lead to an effective remediation technology for soils and sediments contaminated with PBDEs and possibly other persistent halogenated compounds.

Access the full article here: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es101601s