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. 2013 Aug 6;47(15):8931-9.
doi: 10.1021/es402124z. Epub 2013 Jul 17.

Eurasian Dipper Eggs Indicate Elevated Organohalogenated Contaminants in Urban Rivers


Eurasian Dipper Eggs Indicate Elevated Organohalogenated Contaminants in Urban Rivers

Christy A Morrissey et al. Environ Sci Technol. .


Many urban European streams are recovering from industrial, mining, and sewage pollution during the 20th century. However, associated recolonization by clean water organisms can potentially result in exposure to legacy or novel toxic pollutants that persist in the environment. Between 2008 and 2010, we sampled eggs of a river passerine, the Eurasian dipper (Cinclus cinclus), from 33 rivers in South Wales and the English borders (UK) which varied in catchment land use from rural to highly urbanized. Dipper egg δ(15)N and δ(13)C stable isotopes were enriched from urban rivers while δ(34)S was strongly depleted, effectively discriminating their urban or rural origins at thresholds of 10% urban land cover or 1000 people/km(2). Concentrations of total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were positively related to urban land cover and human population density while legacy organochlorine pesticides such as p,p'-DDE, lindane, and hexachlorobenzene were found in higher concentrations at rural sites. Levels of PBDEs in urban dipper eggs (range of 136-9299 ng/g lw) were among the highest ever reported in passerines, and some egg contaminants were at or approaching levels sufficient for adverse effects on avian development. With the exception of dieldrin, our data shows PCBs and other organochlorine pesticides have remained stable or increased in the past 20 years in dipper eggs, despite discontinued use.

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