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Organohalogen contaminants and vitamins in Northern Fur Seals (Callorhinus ursinus) collected during subsistence hunts in Alaska

Published

Author(s)

Jessica L. Reiner, Paul R. Becker, Jennifer M. Lynch, Amanda J. Moors, Jennifer M. Ness, Rebecca S. Pugh, Catherine A. Rimmer, John R. Kucklick, Matthew O. Gribble, Danielle Peterson, Jody Rhoderick, Jennifer Trevillian

Abstract

During native subsistence hunts from 1987 to 2007, blubber and liver samples from 50 subadult male northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) were collected on St. Paul Island, Alaska. Samples were analyzed for legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs), recently phased out/current-use POPs, and vitamins. The legacy POPs measured from blubber samples included polychlorinated biphenyl congeners, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDT and metabolites), chlorobenzenes, chlordanes, and mirex. Recently phased-out/current-use POPs included in the blubber analysis were the flame retardants, polybrominated diphenyl ethers and hexabromocyclododecanes. The chemical surfactants, perfluorinated alkyl acids and vitamins A and E were assessed in the liver samples. Overall, concentrations of legacy POPs are similar to levels seen in seal samples from other areas of the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. Statistically significant correlations were seen between compounds with similar functions (legacy-POPs, pesticides, flame retardants, vitamins). Additionally, a significant correlation was seen between vitamin E and mirex. With sample collection spanning two decades, the temporal trends in the concentrations of POPs and vitamins were assessed. For these animals, the concentrations of the legacy POPs tend to decrease or stay the same with sampling year; however, the concentrations of the current-use POPs increased with sampling year. Vitamin concentrations tended to stay the same across the sampling years. With the population of northern fur seals from St. Paul Island on the decline, a detailed assessment of exposure to contaminants and the correlations with vitamins fills a critical gap for identifying potential population risk factors that might be associated with health effects.
Citation
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Volume
70

Keywords

POPs, PBDEs, PFAAs, fur seals
Created January 1, 2016, Updated February 19, 2017