Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/F) are highly hydrophobic compounds that have been implicated as carcinogens and, more recently, as estrogen disrupters. An occurrence and distribution study of these compounds in the Willamette Basin, Oregon, was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Program. Bed sediment was collected from 22 sites; fish tissue was collected from eight sites. PCDD/F were found to be ubiquitous in Willamette Basin sediment. A distinct homolog profile, dominated by octachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, was observed in sediment throughout the basin. The PCDD homolog profile was consistent at all sites, regardless of total PCDD/F concentration, presence of point sources, subbasin size, geographic location or land use. Principal components analysis revealed a gradient among the homolog profiles that showed increasing dominance of highly chlorinated congeners where human and industrial activity increased. Tissue and bed sediment obtained from the same site did not have similar PCDD/F concentrations or homolog profiles. Fish tissue showed enrichment in less chlorinated congeners and congeners with chlorine substitutions in the 2, 3, 7 and 8 positions.
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Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin and dibenzofuran concentration profiles in sediment and fish tissue of the Willamette Basin, Oregon