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Sci Total Environ. 2015 Nov 15;533:290-6. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.07.011. Epub 2015 Jul 11.

Polyhalogenated compounds (PCBs, chlordanes, HCB and BFRs) in four polar bears (Ursus maritimus) that swam malnourished from East Greenland to Iceland.

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University of Hohenheim, Institute of Food Chemistry, Garbenstr. 28, D-70593 Stuttgart, Germany. Electronic address:
University of Hohenheim, Institute of Food Chemistry, Garbenstr. 28, D-70593 Stuttgart, Germany.
University of Iceland, Keldur, Institute for Experimental Pathology, IS-112 Reykjavík, Iceland.


Levels of organohalogen compounds (PCBs, chlordane, PBB 153, PBDEs, HCB) were determined in adipose tissue, liver, kidney and muscle of four polar bears which swam and/or drifted to Iceland in extremely malnourished condition. Since the colonization in the 9th century polar bears have been repeatedly observed in Iceland. However, in recent years three of the animals have clearly left their natural habitat in poor condition in May or June, i.e. at the end of the major feeding season. The fourth bear is believed to have drifted with melting ice to North-Eastern Iceland in mid-winter. The concentrations of the POPs were within the range or higher than the typical concentrations measured in polar bears from the East Greenland population. In addition to the targeted compounds, we tentatively detected Dechlorane 602 and its potential hydrodechlorinated Cl11-metabolite in all samples. Moreover, a polychlorinated compound which partly co-eluted with PCB 209 was detected in all liver samples but not in adipose tissue, kidney or muscle. The mass spectrum of the potential metabolite did not allow determining its structure. Polar bears are good swimmers and can reach Iceland from the ice edge of East Greenland within a few days. Potential reasons for the swims are briefly discussed.


Dechlorane-602; Malnourished; POPs; Polar bears; Polyhalogenated compounds; Unknown liver peak

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