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Mar Pollut Bull. 2005 Oct;50(10):1103-14.

Concentration of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in beached resin pellets: variability among individual particles and regional differences.

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  • 1Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Institute of Symbiotic Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-8509, Japan.


Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in beached resin pellets were examined to reveal variability between individual particles and differences among beaches. Fifty-five resin pellets from a beach in Tokyo were individually analyzed for PCBs, and showed concentrations ranging from <28 to 2,300 ng/g. This indicates that concentrations are highly variable between particles. Among several characters, discoloration (e.g., yellowing) had a positive relationship with PCB concentration: discolored pellets contained more PCBs than others on most of the beaches sampled. Given the color-selective ingestion of food by some organisms, this may be ecotoxicologically important. Measurements of samples from 47 beaches in Japan showed regional differences in PCB concentrations in resin pellets consistent with those in mussels. Sporadic high concentrations of PCBs were also found in pellets from remote islands, suggesting that resin pellets could be the dominant route of exposure to the contaminants at remote sites. The similarity of PCB concentrations between resin pellets and mussels suggests a potential use of resin pellets to monitor pollution in seawater.

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