Polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, furans, and organochlorine pesticides in spotted sandpiper eggs from the upper Hudson River basin, New York
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In 2004, spotted sandpipers (Actitis macularia) were studied on the Hudson River near Fort Edward south to New Baltimore, NY and on two river drainages that flow into the Hudson River. Concentrations of 28 organochlorine pesticides, 160 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners, and 17 dioxin and furan (PCDD-F) congeners were quantified in eggs collected on and off the Hudson River. The pattern of organochlorine pesticides and PCDD-F congeners did not differ significantly between eggs collected on and off the Hudson River. In contrast, the pattern of PCB congeners differed significantly between the Hudson River and other rivers. Total PCBs were significantly greater in eggs from the Hudson River (geometric mean = 9.1 μg PCBs/g wet weight) than from the other two rivers (0.6 and 0.6 μg PCBs/g wet weight). Seven of 35 (20%) eggs exceeded 20 μg PCBs/g wet weight, the estimated threshold for reduced hatching in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) and some raptor species; the maximum concentration was 72.3 μg PCBs/g wet weight. Models that predicted nest survival and egg success (the proportion of eggs hatching in a clutch if at least one egg hatched) as functions of contaminant levels were poorly distinguished from models that presumed no such associations. While small sample size could have contributed to the inability to distinguish among contaminant and no toxicant models, we cannot rule out the possibility that contaminant concentrations on the Hudson River were not sufficiently high to demonstrate a relationship between contaminant concentrations and reproductive success.