Bioaccumulation Profiles of Chemical Contaminants in Fish from the Lower Willamette River, Portland Harbor, Oregon
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Twenty-five PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), 15 organochlorine (OC) pesticides, and mercury were determined in fish from the Willamette River in Oregon, including a Portland Harbor superfund site. Fish were collected during the summer of 2000 along a 20-mile stretch of the lower Willamette River. Concentrations of ΣPCBs (sum of 25 individually determined PCB congeners) and ΣDDTs (sum of p,p′-DDT, p,p′-DDE, and p,p′-DDD) in fish ranged from 14 to 530 and from 18 to 510 ng/g-wet weight, respectively. ΣPCBs concentrations at all sites exceeded US EPA fish advisory’s screening values. Hexachlorobiphenyl congener 153 was the most abundant of the PCBs detected and p,p′-DDE was the most abundant OC pesticide detected. Low levels of dieldrin were detected in fish at all sites with the highest concentration at the superfund site (4.6 ng/g-wet weight), while other OC pesticides tested were near or below detection limits (≈2 ng/g). In general, organic chemical contaminant concentrations were highest in fish from the superfund site and were lower further upriver. Smallmouth bass had the highest levels of OC compounds of three fish species examined. They also had the largest site-to-site variations whereas black crappie had little variation throughout the study area. Mercury levels in fish ranged from 13 to 520 ng/g. Historical fish residue data are limited from the Portland Harbor superfund site, what data is available is over a decade old, generally consisted of only a few fish (≤3) and analyses quantified only a few PCB congeners (<3).
KeywordsPCBs Bioaccumulation Dieldrin Mercury Level Chemical Contaminant
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