The interest for environmental issues and the concern resulting from the potential exposure to contaminants were the starting point to develop methodologies in order to evaluate the consequences that those might have over both the environment and human health. Considering the feature of POPs, including PBDEs, such as bioaccumulation, biomagnification, long-range transport and adverse effects even long time after exposure, risk assessment of POPs requires specific approaches and tools. In this particular context, the MERLIN-Expo tool was used to assess the aquatic environmental exposure of Adige River to PBDEs and the accumulation of PBDEs in humans through the consumption of possible contaminated local aquatic food. The aquatic food web models provided as output of the deterministic simulation the time trend of concentrations for twenty years of BDE-47 and total PBDEs, expressed using the physico-chemical properties of BDE-47, in aquatic organisms of the food web of Adige River. For BDE-47, the highest accumulated concentrations were detected for two benthic species: Thymallus thymallus and Squalius cephalus whereas the lowest concentrations were obtained for the pelagic specie Salmo trutta marmoratus. The trend obtained for the total PBDEs, calculated using the physico-chemical properties of BDE-47, follows the one of BDE-47. For human exposure, different BDE-47 and total PBDEs concentration trends between children, adolescent, adults and elderly were observed, probably correlated with the human intake of fish products in the daily diet and the ability to metabolize these contaminants. In detail, for the adolescents, adults and elderly a continuous accumulation of the target contaminants during the simulation's years was observed, whereas for children a plateau at the end of the simulation period was perceived.
- Adige River
- Exposure assessment
- Flame retardants
- Physiologically based Pharmacokinetic models