Occurrence of polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans (PBDD/Fs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in pilot whales (<i>Globicephala melas</i>) caught around the Faroe Islands

TitleOccurrence of polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans (PBDD/Fs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in pilot whales (Globicephala melas) caught around the Faroe Islands
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsBjurlid, F, Dam, M, Hoydal, K, Hagberg, J
Pagination11 - 20
KeywordsFaroe Islands, PBDD/Fs, PBDEs, PCDD/Fs, Pilot whale blubber

Blubber from Faroese pilot whales (Globicephala melas) was analysed for brominated dioxins PBDD/Fs, with a subset also analysed for chlorinated dioxins, PCDD/Fs. The studied individuals were restricted to juvenile male whales sampled in the Faroe Islands during the period 1997–2013. Among the PBDD/Fs, the furans were predominant, although the relative abundance of various congeners differed between samples. Furans accounted for, on average, 79% of the ∑PBDD/Fs in the samples, with 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-HpBDF the most abundant congener, found in half of the analysed pilot whales. The concentration range for ∑PBDD/Fs among the samples was 0.080–71 pg/g l.w. (lipid weight), and the sum of toxic equivalents ranged from 0.0039 to 4.7 pg TEQ/g l.w. No relationship was found between PBDD/Fs and PCDD/Fs. In addition, 20 pilot whale samples from the period 2010–2013 were analysed for PBDEs. Several PBDE congeners were found in all of the sampled pilot whales, and at noticeably higher levels than PBDD/Fs and PCDD/Fs. The ∑PBDEs ranged from 140 to 1900 ng/g l.w., with BDE #47 the most abundant congener detected in the samples. Results from the present study were then compared with data from previous studies on pilot wales to investigate temporal trends between 1986 and 2013. The comparison indicated that PBDE concentrations in juvenile males have decreased from 1996 to the latest observations in 2013. No relationship between the concentration levels of PBDD/Fs and PBDEs in the sampled pilot whales could be identified, which indicates possible differences in the metabolism of, or exposure to, PBDEs and PBDD/Fs.