• PBDE;
  • Methoxylated PBDE;
  • Sedimentation rate;
  • Great Lakes;
  • Dating


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been widely studied in sediments from the North American Great Lakes; however, no studies have been conducted of occurrences of methoxylated (MeO-) PBDEs in abiotic compartments in this region. In the present study, 23 tri- to hepta-PBDEs and 12 MeO-PBDEs were analyzed in dated sediment cores collected from two inland lakes (White Lake and Muskegon Lake) in Michigan, USA. Concentrations of Σ23PBDEs ranged from 3.9 × 10−1 to 2.4 × 100 and from 9.8 × 10−1 to 3.9 × 100 ng/g dry weight in White Lake and Muskegon Lake, respectively. The historical trends of tri- to hepta-PBDEs in the two lakes were different, possibly because of different input and remediation histories. The tri- to hepta-PBDE profiles were similar in the two lakes, with BDE-47 as the predominant congener, followed by BDE-99 and BDE-183. A different temporal trend for BDE-183 was found compared with other PBDEs, which is consistent with debromination of high-brominated PBDEs during sedimentation and aging. Methoxylated-PBDEs were detected only in Muskegon Lake (3.6 × 10−3 to 1.2 × 10−1 ng/g dry wt). Methoxylated PBDEs showed different temporal trends compared with tri- to hepta-PBDEs. The differences in patterns of concentrations of MeO-PBDEs in the two lakes might be due to different aquatic communities in each lake. The occurrences of MeO-PBDEs could be the major source of hydroxylated–polybrominated diphenyl ethers (OH-PBDEs) observed in organisms collected in these freshwater systems. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011; 30:1236–1242. © 2011 SETAC