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Environ Sci Technol. 2002 Jul 1;36(13):2789-96.

Distribution and elimination of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans, biphenyls, and p,p'-DDE in tissues of bald eagles from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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  • 1Graduate School of Environment and Information Sciences, Yokohama National University, Japan.


Liver, muscle, fat, kidney, and gall bladder of eight bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) found dead in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan during 2000 were analyzed for the presence of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and biphenyls (including coplanar PCBs), p,p'-DDE, and hexachlorobenzene (HCB). Necropsy results showed that the birds suffered from peritonitis, bacterial infection, or trauma. Concentrations of PCDD/DFs in livers ranged from 23 to 4500 pg/g on a wet weight basis (wet wt), whereas the least concentrations were found in blood plasma of bald eagle nestlings (2.3-49 pg/g, wet wt). A maximum total PCB concentration of 280,000 ng/g, wet wt, was found in the liver of a dead bald eagle affected by peritonitis. The greatest concentrations of p,p'-DDE and HCB in eagle livers were 17,000 and 120 ng/g, wet wt, respectively. Eagles with elevated 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) or total PCB concentrations tended to have great TCDD/TCDF or PCB126/PCB77 ratios, hypothesized to be due to induction of cytochrome P450 enzymes and subsequent metabolism of TCDF and PCB77. Concentrations of TCDD toxic equivalents (TEQs) in the tissues of bald eagles exceeded the thresholds for toxicity in a few avian species. Non-ortho coplanar PCBs accounted for 68-88% of the total TEQs in bald eagle tissues. PCDDs and PCDFs collectively accounted for, on average, 17% of the total TEQs. On the basis of the analysis of a single gall bladder with bile, biliary excretion rates of PCDDs, PCDFs, and PCBs were estimated as 0.015-0.02% per day.

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