Evaluating the fate of hexabromocyclododecanes in the coastal environment: Fugacity analysis using field data

Yoonsub Kim, Hwang Lee, Mi Jang, Sang Hee Hong, Jung Hwan Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Abundant use of plastic materials has increased the amount of microplastics (MPs) and related hazardous chemicals in the marine environment. Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs), brominated flame retardants added to expanded polystyrene (EPS), have been detected in biotic and abiotic samples. In this study, the partition constants of HBCDs between plastics and seawater (KPsw) were determined. Fugacities of HBCDs in EPS, seawater, sediment, and mussels were obtained to determine the directions of the diffusive flux. The fugacities in EPS (fEPS) were greater than those in seawater (fsw), sediment (fsed), and mussels (fswmussel-EPS and fmussel-rock) by three orders of magnitude, indicating that EPS plastics are a significant source of HBCDs. The fmussel-rock of α-HBCD in rock mussels was greater than fsw by factors of 1.7, whereas the fmussel-rock of γ-HBCD was smaller than fsw by factors of 16, indicating the bioisomerization from γ-to α-HBCD. The relatively constant concentration ratio of β-HBCD to the total HBCDs indicated that β-HBCD is a sufficient tracer for determining the diffusive flux. The fsed values of HBCDs were greater than fsw by factors of 17–28, implying a probable advective vertical flow of HBCDs from the EPS plastics, which requires further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117461
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct 1


  • Expanded polystyrene
  • Fugacity
  • Hexachlorocyclododecanes
  • Partition constants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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