Levels and trends of persistent organic pollutants in ringed seals (Phoca hispida) from Central West Greenland, with particular focus on polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)

  • Vorkamp K
  • Rigét F
  • Glasius M
 et al. 
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Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and the organochlorine compounds polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDTs, HCB, chlordane-related pesticides, HCH and toxaphene were analysed in blubber of juvenile ringed seals from Central West Greenland collected between 1982 and 2006. The longest time series could be established for PBDEs, partly based on archived material, while PCBs and DDTs covered a study period from 1994-2006. All organochlorines showed decreasing trends, most pronounced for DDT and HCH with an annual change of 8%. BDE-47 had a significantly increasing trend of 5% annually. It was the only BDE congener consistently above the detection limit, with annual median concentrations between 0.78 ng/g lw to 3.54 ng/g lw, i.e. about 10 times lower than values from East Greenland observed in a similar time trend study on ringed seal blubber [Rigét F, Vorkamp K, Dietz R, Rastogi SC. Temporal trend studies on polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in ringed seals from East Greenland. J Environ Monit 2006; 8: 1000-5]. A clear East > West difference was also found for PCBs and DDTs, but not for chlordanes, toxaphene or HCHs. Σ10-PCB, ΣDDT and ΣChlordanes had similar annual median concentrations, typically exceeding ΣPBDE by two orders of magnitude. The concentrations of HCH and toxaphene were in an intermediate group, with highest annual median concentrations of 135 ng/g lw and 20 ng/g lw, respectively. For most compound groups, the circumpolar trend previously established under for example the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme was confirmed, but apparently, more data are needed for chlordane-related compounds and toxaphene. Statistical analyses of the compound patterns in the ringed seal samples revealed significantly greater differences between seals from East and West than between different sampling years. Higher proportions of PCBs and DDTs and lower proportions of chlordanes and HCHs were found in seals from East Greenland than in those from West Greenland. Based on principal component analysis of individual congener and compounds, seals from East Greenland were found to contain higher proportions of the higher chlorinated CB congeners. Varying patterns between sampling locations may be caused by different exposure situations related to contaminant emissions and transport, but different feeding habits may also affect the contaminant composition. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Arctic
  • Compound patterns
  • Geographical trend
  • Hexachlorobenzene (HCB)
  • Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH)
  • Organochlorine pesticides
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Time trend
  • Toxaphene

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  • K. Vorkamp

  • F.F. Rigét

  • M. Glasius

  • D.C.G. Muir

  • R. Dietz

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