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Detection and Speciation of Brominated Flame Retardants in High-Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) Polymers



Richard D. Holbrook, Jeffrey M. Davis, Keana C. Scott, Christopher W. Szakal


The ubiquitous presence of brominated flame retardants in humans, biota, and the environment has caused concerns about their toxicity, transformations, and persistence. Polymeric materials, which often are intercalated with include brominated flame retardants to reduce flammability, have been suggested as a possible source of the leaching to the local environment. The exact transfer mechanism, however, for releasing these brominated compounds into the environment is still unknown, in part because analytical methods for in situ detection of brominated chemical products at the micrometer-scale have not been fully developed. In this work, we demonstrate that three surface and microanalysis techniques, including micro X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (µXRF), Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB SEM) combined with Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS), and Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), are promising techniques for the elemental and chemical identification of brominated fire retardant compounds such as BDE-209 within real-world plastics. We believe that the techniques illustrated in this work can be an important contributor to any study that hopes to determine the route of entry to the environmental surroundings of BDE-containing materials.
Journal of Microscopy


"Brominated Flame Retardants", "Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy", "Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry", "X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy".


Holbrook, R. , Davis, J. , Scott, K. and Szakal, C. (2012), Detection and Speciation of Brominated Flame Retardants in High-Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) Polymers, Journal of Microscopy, [online], (Accessed May 24, 2024)


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Created March 27, 2012, Updated November 10, 2018