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      Flame Retardants and Methoxylated and Hydroxylated Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in Two Norwegian Arctic Top Predators:  Glaucous Gulls and Polar Bears

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          The brominated flame retardants have been subject of a particular environmental focus in the Arctic. The present study investigated the congener patterns and levels of total hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), polybrominated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), as well as methoxylated (MeO) and hydroxylated (OH) PBDEs in plasma samples of glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Norwegian Arctic. The analyses revealed the presence of total HBCD (0.07-1.24 ng/g wet wt) and brominated biphenyl 101 (< 0.13-0.72 ng/g wet wt) in glaucous gull samples whereas these compounds were generally found at nondetectable or transient concentrations in polar bears. Sum (sigma) concentrations of the 12 PBDEs monitored in glaucous gulls (range: 8.23-67.5 ng/g wet wt) surpassed largely those of polar bears (range: 2.65-9.72 ng/g wet wt). Two higher brominated PBDEs, BDE183 and BDE209, were detected, and thus bioaccumulated to a limited degree, in glaucous gulls with concentrations ranging from < 0.03 to 0.43 ng/g wet wt and from < 0.05 to 0.33 ng/g wet wt, respectively. In polar bear plasma, BDE183 was < 0.04 ng/g wet wt for all animals, and BDE209 was only detected in 7% of the samples at concentrations up to 0.10 ng/g wet wt. Of the 15 MeO-PBDEs analyzed in plasma samples, 3-MeO-BDE47 was consistently dominant in glaucous gulls (sigmaMeO-PBDE: 0.30-4.30 ng/g wet wt) and polar bears (sigmaMeO-PBDE up to 0.17 ng/g wet wt), followed by 4'-MeO-BDE49 and 6-MeO-BDE47. The 3-OH-BDE47, 4'-OH-BDE49, and 6-OH-BDE47 congeners were also detected in glaucous gulls (sigmaOH-PBDE up to 1.05 ng/g wet wt), although in polar bears 4'-OH-BDE49 was the only congener quantifiable in 13% of the samples. The presence of MeO- and OH-PBDEs in plasma of both species suggests possible dietary uptake from naturally occurring sources (e.g., marine sponges and green algae), but also metabolically derived biotransformation of PBDEs such as BDE47 could be a contributing factor. Our findings suggest that there are dissimilar biochemical mechanisms involved in PCB and PBDE metabolism and accumulation/elimination and/or OH-PBDE accumulation and retention in glaucous gulls and polar bears.

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          Author and article information

          Environmental Science & Technology
          Environ. Sci. Technol.
          American Chemical Society (ACS)
          August 2005
          August 2005
          : 39
          : 16
          : 6021-6028
          © 2005


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