Organochlorine Pesticides, Polychlorinated Biphenyls, and Butyltin Compounds in Blubber and Livers of Stranded California Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, and Harbor Seals from Coastal California, USA

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Abstract

Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDTs (p,p′-DDE, p,p′-DDD, p,p′-DDT), chlordanes (CHLs; cis-chlordane, cis-nonachlor, trans-nonachlor, and oxychlordane), hexachlorocyclohexane isomers (HCHs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), tris(4-chlorophenyl)methane (TCPMe), tris(4-chlorophenyl)methanol (TCPMOH), and mono- (MBT), di-(DBT), and tri-butyltin (TBT) were determined in blubber and livers of 15 California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), 6 northern elephant seals (Mirounga augustirostris), and 10 harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) found stranded along the coasts of California, USA, during 1991–1997. Among the organochlorines analyzed, DDTs were predominant, followed in decreasing order by PCBs, CHLs, TCPMe, TCPMOH, HCHs, and HCB. The greatest concentrations of organochlorines were found in California sea lions. The highest DDT and PCB concentrations found in the blubber of California sea lions were 2,900 and 1,300 μg/g, lipid weight, respectively. Concentrations of TCPMe and TCPMOH in California sea lions were correlated significantly with DDT concentrations. Concentration ratios of various organochlorines in harbor seal livers were different from those in California sea lions and elephant seals, which suggested that the sources of exposure of harbor seals to organochlorines were different from those in the other two species. Concentrations of butyltin compounds in livers of pinniped species ranged from 2 to 99 ng/g, wet weight, which were less than those observed in cetaceans and in California sea otters.

Received: 22 September 2000/Accepted: 18 December 2000