Polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants in Chesapeake Bay region, USA, peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) eggs: Urban/rural trends

Authors

  • Katherine E. Potter,

    1. Department of Chemistry, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187–8795, USA
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  • Bryan D. Watts,

    1. Center for Conservation Biology, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187–8795, USA
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  • Mark J. La Guardia,

    1. Department of Environmental and Aquatic Animal Health, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, The College of William and Mary, P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062, USA
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  • Ellen P. Harvey,

    1. Department of Environmental and Aquatic Animal Health, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, The College of William and Mary, P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062, USA
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  • Robert C. Hale

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental and Aquatic Animal Health, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, The College of William and Mary, P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062, USA
    • Department of Environmental and Aquatic Animal Health, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, The College of William and Mary, P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062, USA
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  • Published on the Web 12/22/2008.

  • Virginia Institute of Marine Science Contribution 2987.

Abstract

A total of 23 peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) eggs were obtained between 1993 and 2002 from 13 nests, encompassing 11 locations in the Chesapeake Bay region, USA. When multiple eggs were available from the same clutch, average clutch contaminant concentrations were calculated. An overall median total polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) level of 201 ng/g wet weight was determined for the eggs/clutches examined. The maximum in an individual egg, from an urban highway bridge site, was 354 ng/g. This egg also exhibited the highest BDE 209 burden (48.2 ng/g). Compared to distributions reported in fish and piscivorous birds, falcon eggs were enriched in the more brominated congeners. The BDE congeners 153, 99, and 100 constituted 26.0, 24.8, and 13.1%, respectively, of total PBDEs. In most aquatic species, BDE 47 is the most abundant congener reported; however, it constituted only 4.4% of total PBDEs in the eggs of the present study. The median BDE 209 concentration was 6.3 ng/g. The sum of the octa- to nonabrominated congeners (BDEs 196, 197, 206, 207, and 208) contributed, on average, 14.0% of total PBDEs, exceeding the contribution of BDE 209 (5.9%). Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene (4,4′-DDE) also were determined in a subset of 16 eggs (collected in 2001–2002 from six nests) and were an order of magnitude greater than the corresponding PBDEs. Median BDE 209 concentrations were significantly correlated (p < 0.01, Spearman R = 0.690) with the human population density of the area surrounding the nest. Total PBDEs, total PCBs, and 4,4′-DDE levels were not correlated to human population density.

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