Layla Salih Al Omran has completed her PhD degree in 2016 in the field of Environmental Chemistry at University of Birmingham, UK, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Division of Environmental Health and Risk Management. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, College of Science at University of Basrah, Iraq. Previously she worked at Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, College of Agriculture. She has more than 30 years of academic experience in the field of environmental chemistry and analytical chemistry.
Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are synthetic chemicals added to a wide range of consumer products. Because they are used additively, they can transfer from such products into the environment. Evidence of their persistence and capacity for bioaccumulation has led to concerns about human exposure. Of the main exposure routes, indoor dust ingestion is a major pathway of exposure to such chemicals. It has been suggested that higher dust loadings will lead to dilute BFR concentrations in dust. On the other hand, as lipophilic compounds, BFRs are usually expected to sorb to dust particles with higher organic carbon contents. Thus, the study aims to test the hypothesis that any differences in BFR concentrations between different countries may attribute to differences in organic carbon content and dust loading. Thirteen BFR compounds were measured in 24 dust samples collected from Birmingham, UK and from Basrah, Iraq. With the exception of BDE-183 and BTBPE, average concentrations of BFRs in the UK dust samples were higher than those in Iraqi dust samples and significantly (P<0.05) higher for BDE-99, Σtri-hexa-BDEs, BDE-209, BEH-TEBP and ΣNBFRS. The organic carbon contents (TOC) of UK dust samples (26.2-56.1%) exceeded significantly (p<0.05) those of Iraqi dust samples (1.54-3.66%). In contrast, dust loading of Iraqi dust samples (1.05-2.95 g/m2) exceeded significantly (p<0.05) those of UK dust samples (0.22-0.64 g/m2). Significant negative correlation was observed between log concentrations of BFRs and log dust loading for Iraqi dust samples and significant positive correlation was observed between log concentrations of BFRs and TOC for UK dust samples. Our findings in both UK and Iraqi dust samples revealed that, higher organic carbon contents and lower dust loading in UK dust samples could contribute to the higher concentrations of BFRs in the UK as compared with Iraq.
Fahed Ayed N Aloufi is a Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Meteorology, Environment and Arid Land Agriculture in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He obtained his BSc in 2007, Environmental Science. In 2011, he received an MSc on the research entitled ‘Sustainable Energy and Environment’, Engineering School, University of Cardiff. His research study is focused on atmospheric pollution and environmental management. He is currently a PhD researcher at Interface Analysis Centre (IAC), University of Bristol. His current research involved the study of the effect of climate change and atmospheric pollution on historical buildings in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. During his research, he gained experience on the art of analytical techniques including X-ray tomography (XRT), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and focused ion beam (FIB) and laser Raman spectroscopy (LRS).
The atmospheric pollution is one of the biggest challenges in Saudi Arabia. Particulate matter (PM) is one of the most problematic pollutants observed; this is due to the congested traffic and industrial activities. It can cause adverse health effects and material degradation. Moreover, the characterization of particulate matter is also influenced by meteorological conditions, including temperature, humidity, rainfall and wind speed. This work represents the characterization of these particle pollutants. The samples were collected from the historical site and southern industrial area in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The chemical composition of the PM were analysed using the techniques of scanning electron microscopy combined with energy-dispersion X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX), X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and dual beam - focused ion beam microscopy (DB-FIB). The results gathered from the historical site were identified where in large amounts of spherical particles consisted of carbon, Fe, Cu and Zn. In addition, Al, Si, Ca, Na and Cl were also identified. The results from the industrial southern area revealed large amounts of Zn and Fe and small amount of Mn and Cu. In addition, S K, Ca and Ti were also identified.