Information on the occurrence and accumulation profiles of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and synthetic musk compounds (SMCs) in marine mammals is scarce. In the present study, we recorded the concentrations and profiles of PAHs and SMCs in liver tissue and blubber from minke whales and common dolphins from Korean coastal waters. The overall concentrations of PAHs and SMCs in blubber from both cetacean species were approximately three to five times higher than those in liver tissues. Residue levels of PAHs were lower, whereas levels of SMCs were relatively higher than those reported in other studies. Lack of species- and sex-dependent differences in the concentrations of PAHs and SMCs were found. Naphthalene and 1,3,4,6,7,8-hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta-r-2-benzopyran (HHCB) were predominant compounds in all the samples for PAHs and SMCs, respectively. The concentrations of PAHs and SMCs were significantly correlated with each other, but were not correlated with body size of cetaceans. The present data provide valuable information on the exposure of Korean cetaceans to PAHs and SMCs. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012;31:477–485. © 2011 SETAC
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