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Organochlorine Pesticides, Polychlorinated Biphenyls, and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in Irrawaddy Dolphins from India

Abstract

The Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) is at risk of extinction throughout its range as a result of incidental catches, habitat degradation, and pollution. Populations of Irrawaddy dolphins are constrained by the species’ narrow habitat requirement—lagoons, estuaries, rivers, and lakes—and are therefore particularly vulnerable to the effects of human activities. In this study, for the first time, concentrations of organochlorine (OC) pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were determined in tissues of Irrawaddy dolphins collected from Chilika Lake, India, to understand the status of contamination. Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and its metabolites (DDTs) were the predominant contaminants found in Irrawaddy dolphins; the highest concentration found was 10,000 ng/g lipid weight in blubber. Hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) were the second most prevalent contaminants in dolphin tissues. Concentrations of PCBs, chlordanes, hexachlorobenzene, tris(4-chlorophenyl)methane, and tris(4-chlorophenyl)methanol were in the ranges of few ng/g to few hundreds of ng/g on a lipid-weight basis. In general, concentrations of OC pesticides and PCBs in Irrawaddy dolphins were lower than the concentrations reported for coastal and riverine dolphins collected in Asia. PBDEs were detected in the blubber of Irrawaddy dolphins at concentrations ranging from 0.98 to 18 ng/g lipid weight. BDE congener 47 accounted for 60% to 75% of the total PBDE concentrations. Although these results establish the baseline levels of persistent organic pollutants in Irrawaddy dolphins, efforts should be made to decrease the sources of contamination by DDTs and HCHs in Chilika Lake.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Grant No. 16201014) from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and for Young Scientists (Project No. 16780139) and the 21st Century COE Program from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.

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Correspondence to K. Kannan.

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Kannan, K., Ramu, K., Kajiwara, N. et al. Organochlorine Pesticides, Polychlorinated Biphenyls, and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in Irrawaddy Dolphins from India. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 49, 415–420 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00244-005-7078-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00244-005-7078-6

Keywords

  • PCBs
  • PBDE Congener
  • Lipid Weight
  • Chilika Lagoon
  • River Dolphin