Glacial Melt Inputs of Organophosphate Ester Flame Retardants to the Largest High Arctic Lake

Environ Sci Technol. 2020 Mar 3;54(5):2734-2743. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.9b06333. Epub 2020 Feb 20.


Organophosphate esters (OPEs) have been detected in the Arctic environment, but the influence of glacial melt on the environmental behavior of OPEs in recipient Arctic aquatic ecosystems is still unknown. In this study, water samples were collected from Lake Hazen (LH) and its tributaries to investigate the distribution of 14 OPEs in LH and to explore the input of OPEs from glacial rivers to LH and the output of OPEs from LH in 2015 and 2018. Σ14OPE concentrations in water of LH were lower than glacial rivers and its outflow, the Ruggles River. In 2015, a high melt year, we estimated that glacial rivers contributed 7.0 ± 3.2 kg OPEs to LH, compared to a 16.5 ± 0.3 kg OPEs output by the Ruggles River, suggesting that residence time and/or additional inputs via direct wet and dry deposition and permafrost melt likely result in OPE retention in the LH watershed. In 2018, a lower melt year, Σ14OPE concentrations in glacial rivers were much lower, indicating that the rate of glacier melt may govern, in part, the concentrations of OPEs in the tributaries of LH. This study highlights long-range transport of OPEs, their deposition in Arctic glaciers, landscapes, and lakes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arctic Regions
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Esters
  • Flame Retardants*
  • Lakes
  • Organophosphates


  • Esters
  • Flame Retardants
  • Organophosphates