PCDDs, PCDFs, and Coplanar PCBs in Albatross from the North Pacific and Southern Oceans: Levels, Patterns, and Toxicological Implications

Center for Marine Environmental Studies, Ehime University, Bunkyo-cho 2-5, Matsuyama 790-8577, Japan.
Environmental Science and Technology (Impact Factor: 5.33). 02/2004; 38(2):403-13. DOI: 10.1021/es034966x
Source: PubMed


Concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls (coplanar PCBs) were determined in five albatross species collected from the North Pacific and Southern Oceans to assess the north-south differences in residue levels, accumulation patterns, and toxic potential. Black-footed and Laysan albatrosses from the North Pacific Ocean contained higher levels of PCDD/Fs and coplanar PCBs than albatrosses from the Southern Ocean, indicating that emission sources of these contaminants were predominant in the northern hemisphere. Residue levels in albatrosses from the remote North Pacific Ocean far from the point source of pollution were comparable to or higher than those in terrestrial and coastal birds from contaminated areas in developed nations, suggesting the specific exposure and accumulation of PCDD/Fs and coplanar PCBs in albatross. The long life span and ingestion of plastic resin pellets by albatrosses could be the plausible explanations for the elevated accumulation of persistent and lipophilic contaminants including PCDD/Fs and coplanar PCBs in these birds. Relative proportions of PCDFs and coplanar PCBs in albatross were higher than those observed in birds inhabiting terrestrial and coastal areas, suggesting that these toxic chemicals may have higher transportability by air and water than PCDDs. Congener patterns of PCDD/Fs in albatross showed less variability as compared to those in terrestrial species, indicating that contamination patterns of PCDD/Fs were similar within the open ocean environment. Contributions of PCDD/Fs to total TEQs in albatrosses from the open ocean were generally lower than those in terrestrial birds, suggesting different toxic potency of PCDD/Fs and coplanar PCBs on animals inhabiting open ocean and terrestrial environment. Whereas albatrosses from southern oceans retained lower TEQ concentrations, possible adverse effects of PCDD/Fs and coplanar PCBs to black-footed and Laysan albatrosses of the North Pacific Ocean may be suspected from TEQ levels.

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