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Sci Total Environ. 2014 Feb 1;470-471:1414-21. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.07.129. Epub 2013 Sep 2.

Emission of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in use of electric/electronic equipment and recycling of e-waste in Korea.

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  • 1Resource Recirculation Research Division, National Institute of Environment Research, Hwangyeong-ro 42, Seo-gu, Incheon - 404-708, Republic of Korea.
  • 2Department of Environmental Engineering, Chonbuk National University, 664-14, Dukjin-dong, Dukjin-gu, Jeonju - 561-756, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:


The emission rates of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) from electric/electronic products during their use and disposal were estimated. E-wastes, including televisions and refrigerators, gathered at recycling centers were also analyzed to estimate their emissions. The average concentrations of PBDEs in TV rear covers produced before and after the year 2000 were 145,027 mg/kg and 14,049 mg/kg, respectively. The PBDEs concentration in TV front covers was lower than the concentration in TV rear covers. The concentration in the components of the refrigerator samples ranged from ND to 445 mg/kg. We estimated the atmospheric emissions of PBDEs based on the concentrations. The annual emissions from TV rear covers produced before 2000 were calculated to be approximately 162.1 kg and after 2000, the annual emissions were 18.7 kg. Refrigerators showed the lowest annual emissions of PBDEs (0.7 kg). The atmospheric concentrations were also measured to calculate emissions generated during the recycling process. The highest concentration was 16.86 ng/m(3) emitted from the TV sets during the dismantling process. The concentrations of PBDEs generated in the plastic processing field ranged from 2.05 to 5.43 ng/m(3) depending on the products, and ambient air in open-air yards showed concentrations in the range of 0.32 to 5.55 ng/m(3). Emission factors for the recycling process were calculated using the observed concentrations. The estimated emissions according to the emission factors ranged from 0.3×10(-1) to 90.3 kg/year for open-air yards and from 0.1×10(-1) to 292.7 kg/year for the dismantling and crushing processes of TV set, depending on the production year.

© 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


E-waste; Emission factor; PBDEs; Waste electrical and electronic equipment

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