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Chemical characterization of brominated flame retardants and identification of structurally representative compounds

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Abstract

Three training sets were selected, each consisting of 10 structurally diverse compounds representative of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) that are either in use or have been used. Just three compounds account for nearly all the total production volume of BFRs. In the present study, however, the physicochemical characteristics of a far more structurally diverse set of 65 BFRs was explored using 15 molecular descriptors (including log P, constitutional counts, and semiempirical quantum mechanical parameters) and principal component analysis (PCA). The PCA generated an overview of the structural variation among BFRs, and certain compounds with unique physicochemical properties and specific clusters of compounds with distinct properties were identified. The training-set compounds were selected by applying the condensed information obtained from the PCA and statistical experimental design. The three training sets, which were designated as optimal, practical, and alternative, were selected either to maximize the structural variation (optimal) or to combine structural variation with practical advantages, such as ease of experimental handling and commercial availability (practical and alternative). Inclusion of the suggested compounds in assessments of the persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity properties of BFRs and related programs should help to increase our understanding of the effects and environmental fate of these compounds.

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