Brominated flame retardants in plastic spatulas, spoons and others kitchen utensils

30.12.2017 - PRAGUE
Ilustrative photo
licence Creative Commons Atribution-NonCommecial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic, Wonderlane

Are you getting yourself to prepare a snacks for the New Year's Eve? In that case, you should look out for the kitcheware made from black plastics. Jurisdicaly restricted or even prohibided brominated flame retardants (BFR) sometimes contaminate regular items that don't request the regulations for fire prevention (e.g. plastic kitchenware). The real situation and consequences have just recently been analysed in research conducted by specialists from Birmingham university. The results of their work will be published in January in the „Science of the Total Environment“ magazine.

„To find out how much of the kitchen utensils are contaminated by BFR, we had to collect 96 items of plastic equipment used in the kitchen and analyzed them with manual X – Ray scan for the BFR contamination,“ say the specialists from Birmingham university. Only three from 27 of items purchased in 2011 contained detected concetration of Bromine (≥ 3 μg/g). However, the numbers were much higher for the goods purchasef before 2011 - bromine was found in 31 of 69 items.  

The most important result of the study is the final statement saying that using XFR is very effective method for detection of BFR in the plastics. Scientists have verified their results with much delicate measuring by chemical analysis using gas guns chromatography/mass Spektrometerie (GC-MS) used for determination of specific bromine substances. The most common compound was decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209), in one of the analysed pots an extremely high concentration (1000 μg/g) of BTBPE (1.2-Bis (2, 4, 6-Tribromfenoxy) Ethane) was detected.

The team of experts have also carried out the simulation of cooking to explore the transfer of BFR from selected containers. Ten of the tested by hot cooking oil showed a significant transfer (20 % in average). The estimated median exposure while cooking with contaminated dishes was BFR 60 ng/day for total BFR. On the other hand, the estimated exposure reacting on the skin contact with BFR was minimal.

The discover of the presence of BFR in various subjects using XRF quotes also the Arnika's findings. Our studies aimed on toys and cosmetic accesories and cosmetic accesories were published as part of a recycle-free campaign on December 13th 2017.

Translation: Marcela Kolářová. The article has been prepared based on the publication: Kuang, J., et al. (2018). "Brominated flame retardants in black plastic kitchen utensils: Concentrations and human exposure implications." Science of The Total Environment.

International activities