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Temporal Trends and Spatial Distribution of Non-polybrominated Diphenyl Ether Flame Retardants in the Eggs of Colonial Populations of Great Lakes Herring Gulls

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journal contribution
posted on 15.01.2009 by Lewis T. Gauthier, Dave Potter, Craig E. Hebert, Robert J. Letcher
The production and use of nonpolybrominated diphenyl ether (non-PBDE), brominated flame retardant (BFR) alternatives have been on the rise, although their assessment in environmental samples is largely understudied. In the present study, several non-PBDE BFRs were found in the egg pools of herring gulls (Larus argentatus) from seven colonies in the five Laurentian Great Lakes (collected in 1982 to 2006). Of the 19 BFRs monitored, hexabromobenzene (HBB), 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTBPE), decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE), and α-, β-, γ-, and δ-isomers of 1,2-dibromo-4-(1,2-dibromoethyl)cyclohexane (TBECH) were present in eggs from all the colonies with the highest detection frequencies of 100%, 54%, 9% and 97%, respectively. In 2005 and 2006 eggs, the concentrations of DBDPE were highest at three of the seven colonies (1.3 to 288 ng/g wet weight (ww)) and surpassed decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209). HBB (0.10 to 3.92 ng/g ww), BTBPE (1.82 to 0.06 ng/g ww), and ∑-TBECH (0.04 to 3.44 ng/g ww; mainly the β-isomer 52 to 100% of ∑-TBECH) were detected at lower concentrations (and generally ≪∑PBDE concentrations). Spatial trends were observed, although temporal trends were not obvious in most cases. Regardless, over the past 25 years non-PBDE BFRs have accumulated variably in female herring gulls and have been transferred during ovogenesis to their eggs, indicating that there has been continual exposure and bioaccumulation of several BFRs in the Great Lakes.