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Environ Sci Technol. 2006 Jan 15;40(2):449-55.

Brominated flame retardants in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, East Greenland, and Svalbard.

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  • 1National Water Research Institute, Environment Canada, Burlington, Ontario, Canada. derek.muir@cciw.ca


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were determined in adipose tissue of adult and subadult female polar bears sampled between 1999 and 2002 from sub-populations in Arctic Canada, eastern Greenland, and Svalbard, and in males and females collected from 1994 to 2002 in northwestern Alaska. Only 4 congeners (BDE47, 99, 100, and 153) were consistently identified in all samples. BDE47 was the major PBDE congener representing from 65% to 82% of the sum (sigma) PBDEs. Age was not a significant covariate for individual PBDEs or sigmaPBDE. Higher proportions of BDE 99, 100, and 153 were generally found in samples from the Canadian Arctic than from Svalbard or the Bering-Chukchi Sea area of Alaska. Geometric mean sigmaPBDE concentrations were highest for female polar bear fat samples collected from Svalbard (50 ng/g lipid weight (lw)) and East Greenland (70 ng/g lw). Significantly lower sigmaPBDE concentrations were found in fat of bears from Canada and Alaska (means ranging from 7.6 to 22 ng/g lw).

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