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Volatile Methylsiloxanes and Organophosphate Esters in the Eggs of European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and Congeneric Gull Species from Locations across Canada

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journal contribution
posted on 03.08.2017 by Zhe Lu, Pamela A. Martin, Neil M. Burgess, Louise Champoux, John E. Elliott, Enzo Baressi, Amila O. De Silva, Shane R. de Solla, Robert J. Letcher
Volatile methylsiloxanes (VMSs) and organophosphate esters (OPEs) are two suites of chemicals that are of environmental concern as organic contaminants, but little is known about the exposure of wildlife to these contaminants, particularly in birds, in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The present study investigates the spatial distributions of nine cyclic and linear VMSs and 17 OPEs in the eggs of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and three congeneric gull species (i.e., herring gull (Larus argentatus), glaucous-winged gull (L. glaucescens), and California gull (L. californicus)) from nesting sites across Canada. ∑VMS concentrations for all bird eggs were dominated by decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane (D6), and octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4). With European starlings, birds breeding adjacent to landfill sites had eggs containing significantly greater ∑VMS concentrations (median: 178 ng g–1 wet weight (ww)) compared with those from the urban industrial (20 ng g–1 ww) and rural sites (1.3 ng g–1 ww), indicating that the landfills are important sources of VMSs to Canadian terrestrial environments. In gull eggs, the median ∑VMS concentrations were up to 254 ng g–1 ww and suggested greater detection frequencies and levels of VMSs in aquatic- versus terrestrial-feeding birds in Canada. In contrast, the detection frequency of OPEs in all European starling and gull eggs was lower than 16%. This suggested that low dietary exposure or rapid metabolism of accumulated OPEs occurs in aquatic feeding birds and may warrant further investigation for the elucidation of the reasons for these differences.