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Concentrations of organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners, and butyltins were measured in sea otters and selected prey species (invertebrates) collected from the California (USA) coast. Polychlorinated biphenyls, DDTs (sum of p,pa??-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene [p,pa??-DDE], p,pa??-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane [p,pa??-DDD], and p,pa??-DDT), and butyltins were the major contaminants found in sea otters and their prey. Lipid-normalized concentrations of PCBs and DDT in sea otter livers were 60- and 240-fold greater than those found in the prey. Great biomagnification of PCBs and DDT in sea otters is suggested to result from their high per-capita intake of diet compared with those of other marine mammals. Profiles of PCB congeners in sea otters and prey species suggest a great capacity of sea otters to biotransform lower-chlorinated congeners. Sea otters seem to possess a greater ability than cetaceans to metabolize PCBs. The 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin equivalents of non- and mono-ortho PCBs in sea otters and certain prey species were at or above the theoretical threshold for toxic effects.
Additional Publication Details
Profiles of polychlorinated biphenyl congeners, organochlorine pesticides and butlyns in southern sea otters and their prey