[MARMAM] new publication: Methoxylated PBDEs (MeO-PBDEs), Hydroxylated PBDEs (HO-PBDEs) and Hydroxylated PCBs (HO-PCBs) in the Liver of Harbor Seals from the Northwest Atlantic

Susan Shaw sshaw at meriresearch.org
Tue Jul 8 12:57:58 PDT 2014

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the publication of the following article:

Liesbeth Weijs, Susan D. Shaw, Michelle L. Berger, Hugo Neels, Ronny Blust, Adrian Covaci (2014).  Methoxylated PBDEs (MeO-PBDEs), Hydroxylated PBDEs (HO-PBDEs) and Hydroxylated PCBs (HO-PCBs) in the Liver of Harbor Seals from the Northwest Atlantic. Science of the Total Environment 493: 606-614.


Metabolites of PCBs and PBDEs are shown to influence the thyroid hormone homeostasis and therefore, could have an influence on the growth of newborn or young animals. We have investigated the occurrence of hydroxylated PCBs (HO-PCBs), hydroxylated PBDEs (HO-PBDEs), and methoxylated PBDEs (MeO-PBDEs) in the liver (48 pups; 6 adults) and blubber (4 pups; 1 adult) of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina concolor) from the northwest Atlantic. The sum of HO-PCBs in the liver ranged from 90 to 22,450 pg/g wet weight (ww) for pups and from 410 to 5290 pg/g ww for adults. Congener 4-HO-CB 107 was predominant in almost all samples regardless of age or gender, except in one adult male. Sum HO-PCB concentrations were highly correlated with the sum of precursor PCBs in the liver of harbor seals (r2 = 0.79; p < 0.0001). Concentrations of sum HO-PBDEs in the liver ranged from 70 to 1850 pg/g ww for pups and from 90 to 230 pg/g ww for adults. HO-PBDEs were also correlated with PBDEs (r2= 0.58; p < 0.0001). Sum MeO-PBDE concentrations in the liver ranged from 20 to 1460 pg/g ww in pups and from 10 to 270 pg/g ww in adults. HO-PCBs and HO-PBDEs were not detected in the blubber. Levels of MeO-PBDEs in the blubber ranged from 1500 to 4400 pg/g ww. In all blubber samples, 6-MeO-BDE 47 was the predominant MeO-PBDE congener, followed by 2′-MeO-BDE 68 and 5-MeO-BDE 47, respectively. The presence of HO-metabolites in pup liver suggests that young harbor seals may have some, yet limited, metabolic capacity for PCBs and PBDEs, which can lead to an excessive accumulation of these chemicals in the body. Moreover, the presence of HO-PCB and HO-PBDE metabolites may pose an additional stress for young harbor seals due to their influence on the thyroid hormone system and could have consequences for the entire population.

The above publication is the companion to the recently published article now in print:

Susan D. Shaw, Michelle L. Berger, Liesbeth Weijs, Olaf Päpke, Adrian Covaci (2014). Polychlorinated Biphenyls Still Pose Significant Health Risks to Northwest Atlantic Harbor Seals. Science of the Total Environment 490: 477-487.

Please contact me if you do not have access to these articles (sshaw at meriresearch.org).


Susan D. Shaw, DrPH

Director, Marine Environmental Research Institute

Professor, School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, State University of New York, Albany, NY

Tel: 207-374-2135

Email: sshaw at meriresearch.org

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