As it was mentioned above, PBDE commercial mixtures have been, or will be, voluntarily withdrawn from the market because of their tendency to leak from the materials where they has been used and to be-come ubiquitous in the environment. In 2004, to replace these commercial PBDE mixtures, the flame retardant industry began to use alternative formulations called Firemaster 550, Firemaster BZ-54, and DP-45. Firemaster 550 consists of about 35% of 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB), about 15% of bis(2-ethylhexyl)-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH), and about 50% of aromatic phosphate es-ters. 5 Firemaster BZ-54 consists of about 70% of TBB and about 30% of TBPH.5 DP-45 contains TBPH only.

In a recent study, TBB and TBPH were identified and quantitated in gas and particle-phase air samples collected from six sites near the shores of the Great Lakes. TBB and TBPH were detected in more than half of the samples collected from 2008 to 2010. Urban areas, such as Chicago and Cleveland, showed the highest concentrations (0.36-290 pg/m3), while remote areas, such as Eagle Harbor and Sleeping Bear Dunes, exhibited the lowest levels (0.050-32 pg/m3). The atmospheric concentrations of TBB and TBPH increased rapidly and significantly over this time period (see figure below), perhaps indicating that these compounds are replacing the polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which have been removed or soon will be removed from the marketplace.

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Temporal trends of TBB and TBPH concentrations at urban and rural sites.