Leon Peters

Leon Peters

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Title of PhD: Has the Use of Brominated Flame Retardants Led to Environmental Contamination of Brominated Dioxins & Furans?

Supervisor: Professor Stuart Harrad

 Leon Peters is undertaking doctoral research to test the hypothesis that increased manufacture and use of Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs) such as Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers ( PBDEs) and other phenylolic BFRs has led to increased environmental contamination of Brominated Dioxins and Furans (PBDD/Fs). To answer this question Leon will have access to state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation at ThermoFisher Scientific, Bremen Germany and will measure the concentration profiles of these compounds in a number of radiometrically-dated freshwater sediment cores, taken from lakes across the UK.  Samples will be analysed back as far as ~1950 to provide a baseline from which increases in BFR contamination should be evident. In each sample, concentrations of PBDD/Fs will also be measured and correlations between these and the BFRs monitored will be examined.


  • BSc in Environmental Sciences (Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)

  • MSc in Chemistry (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.)


Leon Peters studied environmental science at Griffith University while undertaking research activities at the University of Queensland’s, National Research Center for Environmental Toxicology (ENTOX) where his research focused on exposures of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to workers in nail salons, as well as the toxicity of pharmaceutics present as contaminants in the environment to fresh water primary producers. Following this Leon pursued research in atmospheric dynamics, focusing on stable isotopic composition of near surface atmospheric waters entrained in the planetary boundary layer. 

He has also worked in solar energy storage for the Weizmann Institute of Science as well as thin layer nano-lithography for Intel Electronics Corp.  


Leon aims to draw on his previous experience to incorporate a stable isotopic approach to explore the formation pathways and fate of PBDD/Fs present in environmental matrices. 

Other activities

Leon is actively engaged in collaboration with the following ELUTE project partners:

  • ThermoFisher Scientific, Bremen, Germany
  • Dept. Geography and Environmental Sciences, University College London, UK


Peters, LI and Yakir, D (2010). A rapid method for the sampling of Atmospheric water vapor for isotopic analysis. Rapid Communications is Mass Spectrometry, 24: Pp 103.

Peters, LI and Yakir, D (2008). A direct and rapid leaf water extraction method for isotopic analysis. Rapid Communications is Mass Spectrometry, 22: (18) Pp 2929.

Peters, LI and Yakir, D (2007). A new method for the extraction of atmospheric water vapour- Applications to the study of environmental stable isotopes. Proceedings of the Weizmann Institute of Sciences’ Active research in Environmental Sciences (CARESS) 2007 conference

Peters, LI; Bartkow, M; Hawker, D; Tapper, S; and Gore, W (2005). Indoor Air Concentrations of Various Organic Compounds in a Suburban Nail Salon. Journal of the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand, 41, Pp. 39.

Peters, LI and Costanzo, S (2005). Effects of 10 Pharmaceutical, Hormone and Personal Care Products on a freshwater microalgae (Chlorella protothecoides). Proccedings of the 2005 Australasian Society for Ecotoxicology, Pp. 71. Melbourne Vic, Australia.

Peters, LI; Bartkow, M; Hawker, D; Tapper, S; and Gore, W (2005). VOC exposures in a Brisbane nail salon. 5th Annual Queensland Health and Medical Research Conference, Pp. 45. Brisbane Qld, Australia.