Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are known brominated flame retardants that have now been banned or phased out in many parts of the world. As a consequence, interest in the environmental occurrence of non-PBDE flame retardants has increased. In the present study several potential PBDE replacement products together with short chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) were assessed in Greenland sharks accidentally caught in waters around Iceland between 2001 and 2003. Non-PBDE flame retardants detected were pentabromoethylbenzene (PBEB), 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTBPE) and 2,3,5,6-tetrabromo-p-xylene (TBX). The concentrations were lower than levels of BDE-47 but similar to other PBDE congeners previously reported in Greenland shark. The median concentrations of SCCPs was 430ngg-1 fat, similar to individual PCB congeners previously reported. This is the first report of SCCPs, BTBPE, PBEB and TBX in any shark species globally and confirms the usefulness of the Greenland shark as a screening species for environmental contamination in the Arctic and sub-Arctic environment.
We are grateful to Hildibrandur Bjarnason for providing the Greenland shark samples and to Lindsay A.P. Smith for data processing. The study has been financially supported by the Swedish research council FORMAS and through faculty funding from Stockholm University.