Bioaccumulation of Bis-(2-ethylhexyl)-3,4,5,6-tetrabromophthalate and Mono-(2-ethylhexyl)-3,4,5,6-tetrabromophthalate by Lumbriculus variegatus

Lawrence P. Burkhard, Tylor J. Lahren, Terry L. Highland, James R. Hockett, David R. Mount, Teresa J. Norberg-King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The brominated flame retardant bis(2-ethylhexyl)-3,4,5,6-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH) is used widely in consumer items including polyurethane foam used in furniture. Information on its bioaccumulation in aquatic species is limited. In the current study, sediment bioaccumulation tests with the oligochaete Lumbriculus variegatus were performed on a spiked natural sediment equilibrated for 14.5 months. Analysis showed the TBPH used to spike the sediment contained a small amount (0.046% by mass) of mono-(2-ethylhexyl)-3,4,5,6-tetrabromophthalate (TBMEHP), a potential biotransformation product of the parent chemical. Steady-state biota-sediment accumulation factors (BSAFs) of 0.254 and 1.50 (kg organic carbon/kg lipid) were derived for TBPH and TBMEHP, respectively. TBPH had biphasic elimination behavior where 94% of the body burden was depleted within the first 12 h of elimination (i.e., half-life of 1.2 h or less) and the remaining 6% eliminated very slowly thereafter (half-life of 15 days). There was little evidence for biotransformation of either chemical by L. variegatus. This investigation confirms the extremely hydrophobic behavior of TBPH and its impact on its bioavailability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-586
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Robert Burgess and Guilherme Lotufo for reviewing this manuscript. The information in this document has been funded wholly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has been subjected to review by the Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure (CCTE) and approved for publication. Approval does not signify that the contents reflect the views of the Agency, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.


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