Tetrabromobisphenol-A is produced in the USA, Israel and Japan but not in the EU. Current production is estimated between 120.000 and 150.000 ton each year, of which approximately 40.000 ton is exported to the European Union.
Tetrabromobisphenol-A is likely to reach the marine environment through industrial waste waters from land-based industrial activities. A small contribution may come from releases to the water from losses from products which contain the substance.
There is currently no information on levels of tetrabromobisphenol-A in marine waters, but there are measurements in estuarine sediments and in North Sea biota. Concentrations in the Scheldt estuary sediments range between 0,1 and 32 µg/kg wet weight. Concentrations in North Sea biota can reach up to 245 µg/kg wet weight in whiting fillet.
Tetrabromobisphenol-A is considered to have a moderate tendency towards bioaccumulation.It's is a very persistent substance. It's very difficult to be biodegraded in aerobic conditions, while it's still rather unknown whether it degrades in anaerobic conditions: it has been suggested that under anaerobic conditions TBBT-A may be biodegraded to bisphenol-A.
TBBP-A is a toxic substance as concentrations above 2,6 µg/l might already cause problems at chronic exposure for marine invertebrates. Such concentrations might already impair the shell growth of a species of oysters. Fresh water invertebrates and fish have a higher tolerance, concentrations of 0,12 and 0,16 mg/l respectively are necessary to cause effects. Present marine concentrations are considered to be of little risk to biota, however concern is raised about the possible degradation to biphenol-A, of which low concentrations have been shown to affect the endocrine system.
Environmental standards and legislation
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