Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the environment and their endocrine disrupting effects on fish
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Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are chemical substances that have long half-lives in the environment, bioaccumulate through the food web, and may cause adverse health effects to humans and wildlife. Sediments from the Niagara River were analyzed for fourteen congeners of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and nine congeners of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) using accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Concentrations as high as 124.6 ng/g and 148 ng/g were obtained for PCBs and PBDEs, respectively. The optimization of simultaneous extraction, clean up and identification methods for the analysis of hydroxylated metabolites of PCBs and PBDEs using ASE, GC/MS with derivatization and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) will be discussed. Common carp ( Cyprinus carpio ) were collected from Lake Erie at areas impacted by industrial and domestic wastes during 2004 and 2006. The levels of plasma vitellogenin, a biomarker for endocrine disruption in fish, were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Fish collected during 2004, were measured for selected POPs obtaining concentrations ranging from 0.47 to 100.19 μg/kg for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), 0.08 to 1.81 μg/kg for PCBs and vitellogenin in serum (94 to 1293 μg/mL). Fish samples collected during 2006 were analyzed for PBDEs using PBDE ELISA (0.1 to 5.5 ng/g in tissues, and 1.0 to 3.7 μg/L in plasma), for PCBs using GC/MS (7.9 to 659 μg/kg) and vitellogenin (0.1 to 230 μg/L) in serum. As a result, no strong correlation was observed between the levels of vitellogenin with total PAHs, total PCBs or total PBDEs. These results suggest that other endocrine disrupting chemicals such as estrogens in Lake Erie may contribute to the alteration of the endocrine system of carps. Controlled studies of oral exposure of PBDEs using fathead minnows were conducted. Sex identification of fish was difficult due to their small size. A strong correlation between PBDE concentration and VTG was not observed, indicating that these experiments should be optimized for better understanding.