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Environ Pollut. 2019 Jul;250:686-694. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.04.072. Epub 2019 Apr 16.

Transformation of gaseous 2-bromophenol on clay mineral dust and the potential health effect.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, 210023, PR China.
2
State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, 210023, PR China. Electronic address: chenggu@nju.edu.cn.

Abstract

Iron-bearing clays are ubiquitously distributed as mineral dusts in the atmosphere. Bromophenols were reported as the major products from thermal decomposition of the widely used brominated flame retardants (BFRs). However, little information is available for the reactivity of iron associated with mineral dusts to interact with the atmospheric bromophenols and the subsequent toxic effects. Herein, three common clay minerals (montmorillonite, illite and kaolinite) were used to simulate mineral dusts, and the reactions with gaseous 2-bromophenol were systematically investigated under environmentally relevant atmospheric conditions. Our results demonstrate that structural Fe(III) in montmorillonite and Fe(III) from iron oxide in illite mediated the dimerization of 2-bromophenol to form hydroxylated polybrominated biphenyl and hydroxylated polybrominated diphenyl ether. The surface reaction is favored to occur at moisture environment, since water molecules formed complex with 2-bromophenol and the reaction intermediates via hydrogen bond to significantly lower the reaction energy and promote the dimerization reaction. More importantly, the formed dioxin-like products on clay mineral dust increased the toxicity of the particles to A549 lung cell by decreasing cell survival and damaging cellular membrane and proteins. The results of this study indicate that not only mineral dust itself but also the associated surface reaction should be fully considered to accurately evaluate the toxic effect of mineral dust on human health.

KEYWORDS:

A549; Cytotoxicity; Hydroxylated dioxin-like products; Iron-bearing clays; Mineral dust

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