A 50-years record of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethanes and hexachlorocyclohexanes in lake sediments and penguin droppings on King George Island, Maritime Antarctic.
ABSTRACT Since the ban on the use of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) such as dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) and hexachlorocyclohexane(HCH) in agriculture, their levels have generally dropped. In a number of cases, however, the levels of these OCPs were found to be unchanging or even increasing after the ban. With the aim to unveil the possible causes of these exceptions, we collected two lake cores from King George Island, West Antarctica, and determined their accumulation flux profiles and temporal trends of these OCPs. In the lake core sediments with glacier meltwater input, the accumulation flux of DDT shows an abnormal peak around 1980s in addition to the expected one in 1960s. In the lake core sediments without glacier meltwater input, the accumulation flux of DDT shows a gradual decline trend after the peak in 1960s. This striking difference in the DDT flux profiles between the two lake cores is most likely caused by the regional climate warming and the resulted discharge of the DDT stored in the Antarctic ice cap into the lakes in the Antarctic glacier frontier. Furthermore, to investigate the change of OCPs loadings in the Antarctic coastal ecosystem, we reconstructed the HCH and DDT concentration profiles in penguin droppings and observed a gradual increase for the former and a continuous decrease for the latter during the past 50 years. The increase of HCH seems to be due to the regional warming from the early 1970s and the resulted HCH discharge to the coastal ecosystem by glaciers' meltwater and the illegal use of HCH in the Southern Hemisphere in the recent decade. Thedifferent temporal trends of HCH and DDT accumulation rate in the lake core with glacier meltwater input and the aged penguin droppings can be explained by their different water-soluble property.
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ABSTRACT: Persistent organic pollutants reach polar regions by long-range atmospheric transport and biomagnify through the food web accumulating in higher trophic level predators. We analyzed Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) samples collected from 2004 to 2006 to evaluate current levels of sigmaDDT (p,p'-DDT + p,p'-DDE) in these birds, which are confined to Antarctica. Ratios of p,p'-DDT to p,p'-DDE in Adélie penguins have declined significantly since 1964 indicating current exposure to old rather than new sources of sigmaDDT. However, sigmaDDT has not declined in Adélie penguins from the Western Antarctic Peninsula for more than 30 years and the presence of p,p'-DDT in these birds indicates that there is a current source of DDT to the Antarctic marine food web. DDT has been banned or severely restricted since peak use in the 1970s, implicating glacier meltwater as a likely source for DDT contamination in coastal Antarctic seas. Our estimates indicate that 1-4 kg x y(-1) sigmaDDT are currently being released into coastal waters along the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet due to glacier ablation.Environmental Science and Technology 07/2008; 42(11):3958-62. · 5.26 Impact Factor