Levels of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in honey samples from different geographic regions

Sci Total Environ. 2014 Feb 15;472:741-5. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.11.035. Epub 2013 Dec 10.


Concentrations of 17 brominated flame retardants (BFRs), including two "novel" BFRs (1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane, BTBPE and decabromodiphenylethane, DBDPE), have been determined to be in 35 commercial honey samples from Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia and Morocco. The results revealed the presence of low amounts (between<LOD to 24.7 pg g(-1) fresh weight) of individual BFRs. The highest total BFR concentrations were found in Brazilian honeys (mean of 5.19, range of 0.46-25.2 pg g(-1) f.w.), followed by Moroccan (mean of 4.40, range of 2.49-8.0 pg g(-1) f.w.), Portuguese (mean of 2.24, range of 1.33-3.81 pg g(-1) f.w.), Spanish (mean of 1.77, range of 0.49-2.96 pg g(-1) f.w.), and Slovenian (mean of 0.93, range of 0.75-1.09 pg g(-1) f.w.) honey samples. The most remarkable findings in this study were the large contribution of the low brominated PBDEs, principally BDE-47, found in honey samples from Slovenia, Spain and Portugal. Meanwhile the most abundant BFRs found in Brazilian and Moroccan honeys were the two novel BFRs (BTBPE and DBDPE). The detection of BFRs in honeys from different countries highlights the risk that their presence poses to the health of humans and wildlife since honey is a non-fatty natural product that is highly consumed all over the world.

Keywords: BFRs; BTBPE; DBDPE; Honey; PBDEs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Bromobenzenes / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Flame Retardants / analysis*
  • Food Contamination / analysis
  • Food Contamination / statistics & numerical data
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / analysis
  • Honey / analysis*
  • Portugal
  • Spain


  • Bromobenzenes
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Flame Retardants
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers
  • 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether
  • 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane