PCB exposure in sea otters and harlequin ducks in relation to history of contamination by the Exxon Valdez oil spill

Mark A Ricca, A Keith Miles, Brenda E Ballachey, James L Bodkin, Daniel Esler, Kimberly A Trust
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2010, 60 (6): 861-72
Exposure to contaminants other than petroleum hydrocarbons could confound interpretation of Exxon Valdez oil spill effects on biota at Prince William Sound, Alaska. Hence, we investigated polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in blood of sea otters and harlequin ducks sampled during 1998. PCB concentrations characterized by lower chlorinated congeners were highest in sea otters from the unoiled area, whereas concentrations were similar among harlequin ducks from the oiled and unoiled area. Blood enzymes often elevated by xenobiotics were not related to PCB concentrations in sea otters. Only sea otters from the unoiled area had estimated risk from PCBs, and PCB composition or concentrations did not correspond to reported lower measures of population performance in sea otters or harlequin ducks from the oiled area. PCBs probably did not influence limited sea otter or harlequin duck recovery in the oiled area a decade after the spill.

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