A screening of persistent organohalogenated contaminants in hair of East Greenland polar bears
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
The science of the total environment. - Amsterdam
, p. 5613-5618
University of Antwerp
In this pilot study, we report on levels of persistent organohalogenated contaminants (OHCs) in hair of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from East Greenland sampled between 1999 and 2001. To our knowledge, this is the first study on the validation of polar bear hair as a non-invasive matrix representative of concentrations and profiles in internal organs and blood plasma. Because of low sample weights (13140 mg), only major bioaccumulative OHCs were detected above the limit of quantification: five polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners (CB 99, 138, 153, 170 and 180), one polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congener (BDE 47), oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor and β-hexachlorocyclohexane. The PCB profile in hair was similar to that of internal tissues (i.e. adipose, liver, brain and blood), with CB 153 and 180 as the major congeners in all matrices. A gender difference was found for concentrations in hair relative to concentrations in internal tissues. Females (n = 6) were found to display negative correlations, while males (n = 5) showed positive correlations, although p-values were not found significant. These negative correlations in females may reflect seasonal OHC mobilisation from periphery adipose tissue due to, for example, lactation and fasting. The lack of significance in most correlations may be due to small sample sizes and seasonal variability of concentrations in soft tissues. Further research with larger sample weights and sizes is therefore necessary to draw more definitive conclusions on the usefulness of hair for biomonitoring OHCs in polar bears and other fur mammals.