Release of chlorinated, brominated and mixed halogenateddioxin-related compounds to soils from open burning of e-waste inAgbogbloshie (Accra, Ghana)
Although complex mixtures of dioxin-related compounds (DRCs) can be released from informal e-waste recycling, DRC contamination in African e-waste recycling sites has not been investigated. This study examined the concentrations of DRCs including chlorinated, brominated, mixed halogenated dibenzo-p-dioxins/dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs, PBDD/Fs, PXDD/Fs) and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (DL-PCBs) in surface soil samples from the Agbogbloshie e-waste recycling site in Ghana. PCDD/F and PBDD/F concentrations in open burning areas (18–520 and 83–3800 ng/g dry, respectively) were among the highest reported in soils from informal e-waste sites. The concentrations of PCDFs and PBDFs were higher than those of the respective dibenzo-p-dioxins, suggesting combustion and PBDE-containing plastics as principal sources. PXDFs were found as more abundant than PCDFs, and higher brominated analogues occurred at higher concentrations. The median total WHO toxic equivalent (TEQ) concentration in open burning soils was 7 times higher than the U.S. action level (1000 pg/g), with TEQ contributors in the order of PBDFs >> PCDD/Fs > PXDFs. DRC emission to soils over the e-waste site as of 2010 was estimated, from surface soil lightness based on the correlations between concentrations and lightness, at 200 mg (95% confidence interval 93–540 mg) WHO-TEQ over three years. People living in Agbogbloshie are potentially exposed to high levels of not only chlorinated but also brominated DRCs, and human health implications need to be assessed in future studies.