Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs) are a group of halogenated organic chemical additives that, for several decades, have been applied to a comprehensive range of potentially-combustible manufactured products worldwide, including plastics, wood, paper, textiles, furnishings, building materials and electrical goods, to meet and comply with fire safety codes, standards and regulations.
BFRs are highly resistant to degradation and are therefore capable of long-range transport, bioaccumulation in tissues and potential trophic magnification. Certain BFRs have also been shown to have high toxicity in humans and wildlife. Widespread BFR-contamination of terrestrial and marine biotic and abiotic receptors has been documented globally.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, has designated the penta- and octa- polybrominated diphenyl ether compounds (PBDEs) as persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
This project tests the hypothesis that emissions from waste materials in landfill constitute an important source of BFR-contamination in UK avian receptors, with black-headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus the designated study taxon.
This project operates alongside similar North American initiatives headed by Environment Canada; it is anticipated that comparative work will be undertaken relating to North American taxa.
Potential collaborators are welcome to contact me at AXT571@bham.ac.uk