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Environ Sci Technol. 2012 Aug 7;46(15):8440-7. doi: 10.1021/es301032a. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

The flame retardant β-1,2-dibromo-4-(1,2-dibromoethyl)cyclohexane: fate, fertility, and reproductive success in American kestrels (Falco sparverius).

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Ecotoxicology & Wildlife Health Division, Science & Technology Branch, Environment Canada, Burlington, Ontario, Canada.


Captive American kestrels (Falco sparverius) were exposed via diet during reproduction to an environmentally relevant concentration of β-1,2-dibromo-4-(1,2-dibromoethyl)cyclohexane (β-TBECH). The β-TBECH isomer was injected into the food source at a daily dosing concentration of 0.239 ng/g kestrel/day (22 pairs); control birds were exposed via diet to the safflower oil vehicle only (24 pairs). Eight pairs in each group were exposed for four weeks and sacrificed for tissue analysis; the remaining pairs completed their breeding cycle, with exposure ceasing at the end of incubation (82 days). α- and β-TBECH appeared to be rapidly metabolized and/or eliminated from fat, liver, and plasma; both isomers and potential hydroxylated metabolites of β-TBECH (plasma) were undetected. Notwithstanding, compared to controls, pairs exposed to β-TBECH laid fewer eggs (p = 0.019) and laid lighter eggs (successful eggs: p = 0.009). Exposed pairs also demonstrated poorer egg fertility (p = 0.035) although testis mass and histology were similar among males. Reductions in egg production and fertility resulted in decreased hatchling success (p = 0.023). The β-TBECH-exposed pairs also produced fewer males overall (p = 0.009), which occurred concurrently with increased estradiols maternally deposited in eggs (p = 0.039). These findings demonstrate that β-TBECH may be detrimental for breeding in wild birds receiving similar exposure levels.

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