Persistent organic pollutants in liver. ΣPCB – sum of 21 individual polychlorinated biphenyls

Pollution: Contaminants in seabirds
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a class of organic compounds with 1 to 10 chlorine atoms attached to biphenyl. Theoretically there are 209 different congeners of PCB, of which 130 different are found in environmentally samples.

PCBs were widely used for example as dielectric fluids in transformers and capacitors and coolants. Due to the toxicity of PCBs and their classification as persistent organic pollutants, PCB production was banned in the United States in 1976 and in other western nations during the 1980’s. The toxicity of PCBs varies considerably among congeners. The coplanar PCBs (known as non-ortho PCBs because they are not substituted at the ring positions ortho next to the other ring), i.e. PCBs 77, 126, 169, tend to have dioxin-like properties, and generally are among the most toxic congeners.

PCBs make up the majority of persistent organic pollutants in all seabird species. The PCB levels are 5-50 times higher than hexachlorobenzene and 2-7 times higher than DDT. The glaucous gull and great black-backed gull had significantly higher liver concentrations of SPCB than the other seabird species. There were no regional differences in PCB concentrations within the Barents Sea. According to large reports from AMAP the PCB levels in Arctic are lower than from more temporal and populated areas. The time trend series from the Barents Sea also points downward, for example was the SPCB levels 80% higher in 1983 than in 2003 in herring gull, black-legged kittiwake and Atlantic puffin eggs.

Levels of ΣPCB in seabird liver 

 SpeciesSpeciesSpecies
  Levels of liver-ΣPCB in Brunnichs guillemot. Levels in Black guillemot Levels of liver-ΣPCB in Brünnichs guillemot. Levels in Brünnichs guillemot Levels of liver-ΣPCB in Common eider Levels in Common eider
  Levels of liver-ΣPCB in Common guillemot Levels in Common guillemot Levels of liver-ΣPCB in Northern fulmar Levels in Northern fulmar Levels of liver-ΣPCB in Common eider Levels in Great black-backed gull
  Levels of liver-ΣPCB in Common eider Levels in Glaucous gull Levels of liver-ΣPCB in Herring gull Levels in Herring gull Levels of liver-ΣPCB in King eider Levels in King eider
  Levels of liver-ΣPCB in Black-legged kittiwake Levels in Black-legged kittiwake  Levels of liver-ΣPCB in Little auk Levels in Little auk  Levels of liver-ΣPCB in Levels of liver-SHCH in Long-tailed duck. Levels in Levels of liver-SHCH in Long-tailed duck.
  Levels of liver-ΣPCB in Atlantic puffin Levels in Atlantic puffin