Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Brominated Flame Retardants - risks to UK drinking water sources - WT1208

Brominated flame retardants are compounds of human health interest because of their endocrine disrupting potential, toxicity, and potential for bioaccumulation. It is becoming increasingly clear that these chemicals are widely distributed in the environment and can accumulate in the tissues of humans. Some compounds have been prohibited at the European level and restrictions have been placed on others. The purpose of this project is to produce an up to date assessment of the risk of brominated flame retardants reaching drinking water sources in England and Wales.

Detailed risk assessments have already been conducted on a number of compounds under the regulation of existing substances, full reports of the risk assessment are given on . In general exposure through drinking water is likely to be small compared to other routes, in part, because to the high octanol:water partition coefficient these compounds tend to have.

This study will review brominated flame retardant as a group, building on the existing risk assessments, where available, and focusing on potential drinking water contamination.

1) review literature data on levels of brominated flame retardants in drinking water sources worldwide, this must include liaison with the EA and water companies in England and Wales;

2) establish the past and present usage of brominated flame retardants within England and Wales and identify any activity that may give rise to high environmental contamination;

3) conduct a risk assessment to identify high and low risk drinking water sources (both public and private supplies) based on the usage patterns and activities studied above and produce estimates of brominated flame retardant concentrations for the various drinking water sources identified;

4) the assessment should take account of both the current restrictions and, where appropriate, historic use etc

5) advise whether there is any justification in conducting any routine monitoring or further research in this area.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Brominated Flame Retardants - risks to UK drinking water sources   (1615k)
• Executive Summary : Brominated Flame Retardants - risks to UK drinking water sources   (34k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2009

Cost: £19,570
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Building Research Establishment Ltd
Drinking Water              
Fields of Study
Water Quality