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Environ Sci Technol. 2002 Aug 15;36(16):3490-6.

Polychloronaphthalenes and other dioxin-like compounds in Arctic and Antarctic marine food webs.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali, Università di Siena, Italy.


Here we report accumulation patterns of polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and pesticides (HCB, p,p'DDE) in polar organisms (polar bear from Alaskan Arctic and krill, sharp-spined notothen, crocodile icefish, Antarctic silverfish, Adélie penguin, South polar skua, and Weddell seal from the Ross Sea, Antarctica). PCNs, found in most of the samples, ranged from 1.5 pg/g in krill to 2550 pg/g in South polar skua on a wet weight basis. Lower chlorinated PCNs were the predominant congeners in organisms except skua and polar bear that showed similar PCN homologue patterns. PCDD/F concentrations were <90 pg/g wet wt in polar organisms; PCDD congeners showed peculiar accumulation patterns in different organisms. Correlation existed between PCN and PCB concentrations. PCB, HCF, and p,p'DDE levels were the highest in skua liver (11,150 ng/g wet wt, 345 ng/g wet wt, and 300 ng/g wet wt, respectively). Contribution of PCNs to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin equivalents (TEQ) was negligible (<0.1%) because of the lack of most toxic congeners. The highest TEQ was found in South polar skua liver (45 pg/g, wet weight). This is the first study to document the occurrence of PCNs in Antarctic organisms. High levels of dioxin-like chemicals in skua suggest the importance of intake via diet and migration habits, thus POP detection can be useful to trace migration behavior. Moreover, POP concentrations in penguin and skua eggs prove their transfer from the mother to eggs.

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