Fish as biomonitors of polybrominated diphenyl ethers and hexabromocyclododecane in Czech aquatic ecosystems: pollution of the Elbe River basin

Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Dec;115 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):28-34. doi: 10.1289/ehp.9354.


Background: Brominated flame retardants (BFRs)--polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)--belong to the group of relatively "new" environmental contaminants. The occurrence of these compounds in the Czech aquatic ecosystem was for the first time documented within the 3-year monitoring study initiated in 2001. In 2002-2003 HBCD and the major PBDE congeners (28, 47, 49, 66, 85, 99, 100, 153, 154, and 183) were found in 136 freshwater fish samples collected from several sampling sites located at three Czech rivers (Vltava, Elbe, Tichá Orlice). Chub (Leuciscus cephalus), barbel (Barbus barbus), bream (Abramis brama), perch (Perca fluviatilis), and trout (Salmo trutta), representing the most common fish species, were examined by gas chromatography coupled with negative chemical ionization mass spectrometry.

Results: The presence of PBDE congeners and HBCD was detected in all analyzed samples (limits of detection for target analyts ranged from 0.015 to 0.1 ng/g lipid weight). Without exception the dominating congener was BDE-47. The most pronounced extent of fish contamination was found in the Vltava river at Klecany, downstream from the industrial agglomeration of Prague. As for fish species, the highest concentrations of PBDEs (sum of congeners) were measured in benthic species, represented by bream and barbel, up to 19.6 ng/g wet weight and 16.5 ng/g wet weight, respectively. The lowest accumulation occurred in predator fish (perch and trout). The highest levels of HBCD were detected in barbel from Srnojedy on the Elbe River (15.6 ng/g wet weight), downstream.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Czech Republic
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Fishes / metabolism*
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers
  • Hydrocarbons, Brominated / analysis*
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls / analysis*
  • Rivers / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers
  • Hydrocarbons, Brominated
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether
  • hexabromocyclododecane