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Chlorinated hydrocarbons in livers of American mink (Mustela vison) and river otter (Lutra canadensis) from the Columbia and Fraser River Basins, 1990-1992

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

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Abstract

We investigated chlorinated hydrocarbon contaminants in aquatic mustelid species on the Fraser and Columbia Rivers of northwestern North America. Carcasses of river otter (Lutra canadensis) (N=24) and mink (Mustela vison) (N=34) were obtained from commercial trappers during the winters of 1990-91 and 1991a??92. Pooled liver samples were analyzed for organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), including non-ortho congeners, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs). Most samples contained detectable concentrations of DDE, PCBs, although there was substantial variability in patterns and trends among neighboring samples. Concentrations of DDE were in some mink and several otter samples from the lower Columbia River elevated (to 4700 g/kg wet weight); excluding one mink sample from the Wenatchee area, mean DDE levels generally decreased between 1978a??79 and 1990a??92. PCBs were present in all samples. PCB concentrations in otter livers collected from the lower Columbia were ten-fold lower than measured a decade previously; nevertheless, a sample taken near Portland had a mean concentration of 1500 g/kg, within a range of concentrations associated with reproductive effects in captive mink. Concentrations of 2,3,7,8-TCDD and TCDF were generally below detection limits, except for one otter collected near a pulp mill at Castlegar, on the upper Columbia, with 11 ng TCDD/kg in liver. Elevated concentrations of higher chlorinated PCDD/Fs, probably resulting from use of chlorophenolic wood preservatives, were found in both species; one otter sample from the lower Columbia had 2200 ng OCDD/kg. International TCDD toxic equivalent levels in mink (31 ng/kg) and otter (93 ng/kg) from the lower Columbia River approached toxicity thresholds for effects on reproduction in ranch mink.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Chlorinated hydrocarbons in livers of American mink (Mustela vison) and river otter (Lutra canadensis) from the Columbia and Fraser River Basins, 1990-1992
Series title:
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
Volume
57
Issue:
3
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description:
p. 229-252
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
229
Last page:
252
Number of Pages:
24