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Environ Pollut. 2004 Oct;131(3):425-34.

Organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls in California sea lions.

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  • 1Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health and Department of Environmental Health and Toxicology, State University of New York at Albany, Empire State Plaza, PO Box 509, Albany, NY 12201-0509, USA.


Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDTs, chlordanes, HCHs, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, tris(4-chlorophenyl)methane (TCPMe), and tris(4-chlorophenyl)methanol (TCPMOH) were measured in the blubber of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) collected in 2000. DDTs were the most predominant contaminants, followed by PCBs, chlordanes, TCPMe, HCHs, TCPMOH, dieldrin, and heptachlor epoxide. Concentrations of PCBs and DDTs varied from a few microg/g to several hundreds of microg/g on a lipid weight basis. Concentrations of DDTs have declined by an order of magnitude over the last three decades in California sea lions; nevertheless, the measured concentrations of PCBs and DDTs in California sea lions are still some of the highest values reported for marine mammals in recent years. Concentrations of organochlorines were highly correlated with one another. Concentrations of PCBs and DDTs in the blubber of gray whale, humpback whale, northern elephant seal, and harbor seal, and in the adipose fat of sea otter, were lower than the levels found in California sea lions, and were in the range of a few to several microg/g on a lipid weight basis.

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