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Residues and trends of organochlorine pesticide and polychlorinated biphenyls in birds from Texas, 1965-88

National Biological Service, Fish & Wildlife Research 14

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Abstract

Concentrations of DDE (a metabolite of DDT) in birds decreased during recent years in most areas of the continental United States. Organochlorine pesticides were widely used in agriculture in Texas from the early 1950s to the 1970s. I used previously published data to determine whether concentrations of DDE and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in birds from Texas have followed a decreasing trend similar to that in birds from other areas in the United States. A total of 2,669 bird samples was collected between 1965 and 1988 from diverse locations in Texas and was analyzed for organochlorines and other environmental contaminants. The brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), laughing gull (Larus atricilla), black skimmer (Rynchops niger), and European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) were the most frequently studied species. DDE and PCBs were the most commonly detected organochlorines in bird tissues. Mean DDE concentrations ranged from 0.4 to 61.00 parts per million (ppm) wet weight (ww) and PCBs from 0.02 to 32.00 ppm ww. Concentrations of DDE in eggs and carcasses of black skimmers decreased significantly during 1970-84 and dropped from approximately 10 to nearly 3 ppm ww. PCBs decreased from approximately 7 ppm ww to 1 ppm ww in eggs and carcasses. DDE concentrations in eggs of brown pelicans varied from more than 3 ppm ww in 1970 to approximately 1 ppm ww in 1983; and PCB concentrations diminished from about 10 to 1 ppm ww. Decreasing trends in concentrations of DDE and PBCs were observed in most species, although in some cases, the estimated trends were not significantly different from zero. Concentrations of DDE in birds from the Texas coast decreased from more than 6.0 ppm in 1978 to below 0.5 ppm in 1985. The decreasing ratios in selected species varied from approximately 2.0 to 12.0 (DDE) and from 4.5 to 9.0 (PCBs). The results indicate that in general from 1965 to 1988, DDE and PCBs declined in birds from Texas.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
Organization Series
Title:
Residues and trends of organochlorine pesticide and polychlorinated biphenyls in birds from Texas, 1965-88
Series title:
National Biological Service, Fish & Wildlife Research
Series number:
14
Year Published:
1995
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Department of the Interior, National Biological Service
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
ii, 26 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Texas