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Organohalogen compounds of emerging concern in Baltic Sea biota: Levels, biomagnification potential and comparisons with legacy contaminants

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  • Cynthia A. de Wit, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Rossana Bossi
  • Rune Dietz
  • Annekatrin Dreyer, Air Monitoring, Eurofins GfA GmbH
  • ,
  • Suzanne Faxneld, Swedish Museum of Natural History
  • ,
  • Svend Erik Garbus
  • ,
  • Peter Hellström, Swedish Museum of Natural History
  • ,
  • Jan Koschorreck, Umweltbundesamt
  • ,
  • Nina Lohmann, Eurofins GfA Lab Service GmbH
  • ,
  • Anna Roos, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Denmark
  • Ulla Sellström, Stockholm University
  • ,
  • Christian Sonne
  • Gabriele Treu, Umweltbundesamt
  • ,
  • Katrin Vorkamp
  • Bo Yuan, Stockholm University
  • ,
  • Igor Eulaers

While new chemicals have replaced major toxic legacy contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), knowledge of their current levels and biomagnification potential in Baltic Sea biota is lacking. Therefore, a suite of chemicals of emerging concern, including organophosphate esters (OPEs), short-chain, medium-chain and long-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs, MCCPs, LCCPs), halogenated flame retardants (HFRs), and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), were analysed in blue mussel (Mytilus edulis), viviparous eelpout (Zoarces viviparus), Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), grey seal (Halichoerus grypus), harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), common eider (Somateria mollissima), common guillemot (Uria aalge) and white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) from the Baltic Proper, sampled between 2006 and 2016. Results were benchmarked with existing data for legacy contaminants. The mean concentrations for ΣOPEs ranged from 57 to 550 ng g −1 lipid weight (lw), for ΣCPs from 110 to 640 ng g −1 lw for ΣHFRs from 0.42 to 80 ng g −1 lw, and for ΣPFAS from 1.1 to 450 ng g −1 wet weight. Perfluoro-4-ethylcyclohexanesulfonate (PFECHS) was detected in most species. Levels of OPEs, CPs and HFRs were generally similar or higher than those of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and/or hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD). OPE, CP and HFR concentrations were also similar to PCBs and DDTs in blue mussel, viviparous eelpout and Atlantic herring. In marine mammals and birds, PCB and DDT concentrations remained orders of magnitude higher than those of OPEs, CPs, HFRs and PFAS. Predator-prey ratios for individual OPEs (0.28–3.9) and CPs (0.40–5.0) were similar or somewhat lower than those seen for BDE-47 (5.0–29) and HBCDD (2.4–13). Ratios for individual HFRs (0.010–37) and PFAS (0.15–47) were, however, of the same order of magnitude as seen for p,p′-DDE (4.7–66) and CB-153 (31–190), indicating biomagnification potential for many of the emerging contaminants. Lack of toxicity data, including for complex mixtures, makes it difficult to assess the risks emerging contaminants pose. Their occurence and biomagnification potential should trigger risk management measures, particularly for MCCPs, HFRs and PFAS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106037
JournalEnvironment International
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

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