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Environ Sci Technol. 2004 Jul 15;38(14):3804-9.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers and organochlorines in archived northern fur seal samples from the Pacific coast of Japan, 1972-1998.

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  • 1Center for Marine Environmental Studies, Ehime University, 2-5 Bunkyo-cho, Matsuyama 790-8577, Japan.


The present study clearly indicated possible prolonged and chronic marine pollution by polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) unless the international regulatory measures are reinforced substantially. Fat tissues of female northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus), collected at 10 time periods between 1972 and 1998 from the Pacific coast of northern Japan, were analyzed for PBDEs and organochlorine compounds (OCs). PCBs and DDTs were the predominant contaminants in the fur seal samples. PBDEs were detected in all the samples analyzed, the values ranging from 0.33 to 100 ng/g lipid wt. with predominance of BDE-47. The lowest PBDE levels were in the fur seals collected in 1972, with the peak concentration around 1991-1994 and then decreased to about 50% in 1997-1998. Compositions of higher brominated congeners increased since 1972, while some lower brominated congeners decreased, implying a change in the pattern of use, particularly the increased use of highly brominated diphenyl ethers during 1972-1998. In the meantime, PCB compositions in fur seals showed no temporal variation, suggesting a continuous input of PCBs into the marine environment in significant quantities. As peak concentrations of PBDEs occurred later than OCs, it is essential to follow up the patterns of PBDEs pollution that may be of great concern in the future. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the contamination by PBDEs in marine mammals from the Asia-Pacific waters.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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