Polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides in baltic and atlantic gray seal (<i>Halichoerus grypus</i>) pups

TitlePolychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides in baltic and atlantic gray seal (Halichoerus grypus) pups
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsSørmo, EG, Skaare, JU, JÜssi, I, JÜssi, M, Jenssen, BØRM
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Pagination2789 - 2799
Date Published2003/11/01
ISBN Number0730-7268
KeywordsBlubber, Marine mammals, Nondestructive monitoring, Phocids, pollution

Abstract Organochlorine pollutants (OCs), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT, chlordanes (CHLs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) were determined in blubber biopsies from free-ranging Baltic and Atlantic gray seal (Halichoerus grypus) pups. Well-fed pups from the Baltic Sea had concentrations of DDT, PCBs, and HCHs that were 2 to 10 times higher than in corresponding pups from populations in the Atlantic Ocean. The OC pattern in the Baltic seals differed significantly from that of their Atlantic relatives, reflecting the predominance of regional point source inputs into the Baltic Sea and long-range atmospheric inputs into the Atlantic Ocean. The differences in the pattern of the compounds also indicated an enhanced metabolism of the more metabolizable compounds in the more contaminated Baltic seals. Surprisingly, the proportions of the high chlorinated and low-volatile PCB congeners (>6 Cl atoms) were comparable or lower in the Baltic pups as compared to the Atlantic pups. This difference might be due to Baltic seals occupying a lower trophic level than Atlantic seals and/or to the eutrophication situation in the Baltic Sea, which causes sedimentation of these PCB congeners. Significantly higher OC concentrations were found in starved and/or abandoned Baltic pups as compared to well-fed pups. The most contaminated Baltic seal pups in the present study had PCB concentrations that are comparable or higher than those reported to impair the immune systems and vitamin A dynamics in phocids.

Short TitleEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry