Author(s): Shaw SD, Berger ML, Weijs L, Covaci A
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Abstract Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) are widely used flame retardants that enter coastal waters from multiple sources and biomagnify in marine food webs. PBDEs have been detected at relatively high concentrations in harbor seals, apex predators in the northwest Atlantic. Whereas tri- to hexa-BDEs readily biomagnified from prey fishes to seal blubber, Deca-BDE (BDE-209) did not biomagnify in blubber. To explore tissue-specific differences in the accumulation/biomagnification of BFRs, we analyzed tri- to Deca-BDES in liver of 56 harbor seals (6 adult males, 50 pups), and compared hepatic concentrations and biomagnification potential with those in blubber. HBCDs were analyzed in seal liver and blubber to enable similar comparisons. Hepatic ΣPBDE (tri- to Octa-BDE) concentrations (range 35-19,547ng/glipid weight, lw) were similar to blubber concentrations, while α-HBCD levels in seal liver (range 2-279ng/glw) were significantly higher than levels in blubber. Tissue distribution of PBDEs and α-HBCD varied significantly by age and, surprisingly, by gender among the pups. Biomagnification of α-HBCD from fish to seal liver and blubber was negligible to low, implying that harbor seals can metabolize this persistent isomer. Similar to the patterns in blubber, tri- through hexa-BDEs were highly biomagnified from fish to seal liver. In contrast, BDE-209 concentrations in liver were up to five times higher than those in blubber, which is consistent with observations that BDE-209 migrates to perfused tissues such as the liver in biota. Although detection frequency was low, BDE-209 levels in seal liver were up to ten times higher than those in their prey fish, suggesting that the accumulation/biomagnification of Deca-BDE in marine food webs is tissue-specific. As BDE-209 is the dominant PBDE found in marine sediments, its biomagnification in marine ecosystems is of concern. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Environ Int
and referenced in Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology