Document Detail

Concentrations of persistent organochlorine contaminants in bowhead whale tissues and other biota from northern Alaska: implications for human exposure from a subsistence diet.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15910787     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus; n = 5) blubber, liver, muscle, kidney, heart, diaphragm, tongue, and uncooked maktak (bowhead whale epidermis and blubber) were collected during subsistence hunts at Barrow, AK, USA (1997-1999) to measure concentrations of persistent organochlorine contaminants (OCs). The exposure of humans to OCs via bowhead whales and other biota [fish, ringed (Phoca hispida) and bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus), and beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas)] as part of a subsistence diet was evaluated. Concentrations of OCs in bowhead whale tissues were correlated with lipid content (P < 0.001) and were less than levels in other marine mammals reported herein, reflecting the lower trophic status of this cetacean. The relative proportions of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and sum (Sigma) concentrations of chlordane components (SigmaCHL), DDT-related compounds (SigmaDDT), and polychlorinated biphenyls (SigmaPCB) were not statistically different among the tissues analyzed (P < 0.05). However, relatively higher proportions of hexachlorocyclohexane isomers (SigmaHCH), particularly beta-HCH, were observed in bowhead whale heart and diaphragm (P < 0.03). Based on Canadian and World Health Organization daily intake guidelines, "safe" human consumption rates of bowhead whale tissue and other marine biota were calculated. The most restrictive limits (mean value) for daily consumption for bowhead and beluga whale were 302 and 78 g for maktak and maktaaq (beluga whale epidermis and blubber), respectively. The tolerable daily intake limits of dioxin-like compounds from the consumption of bowhead whale blubber and liver were calculated to be 199 g (approximately 600 g for maktak) and 2222 g, respectively. A detailed profile of traditional/country foods consumed by subsistence communities of northern Alaska is required to address chronic exposure in more detail. Overall, bowhead whale tissues and other biota from northern Alaska are safe to consume at, or below, the levels calculated.
P F Hoekstra; T M O'Hara; S M Backus; C Hanns; D C G Muir
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental research     Volume:  98     ISSN:  0013-9351     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ. Res.     Publication Date:  2005 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-05-24     Completed Date:  2005-08-12     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0147621     Medline TA:  Environ Res     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  329-40     Citation Subset:  IM    
National Water Research Institute, Environment Canada, Burlington, Ont., Canada L7R4A6.
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MeSH Terms
Biological Availability
Chlordan / analysis,  metabolism,  toxicity
DDT / analysis,  metabolism,  toxicity
Environmental Pollutants / metabolism*,  toxicity
Food Contamination* / analysis
Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / analysis,  metabolism*,  toxicity
Lindane / analysis,  metabolism,  toxicity
Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis,  metabolism,  toxicity
Tissue Distribution
Whales / metabolism*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Environmental Pollutants; 0/Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated; 0/Polychlorinated Biphenyls; 12789-03-6/Chlordan; 50-29-3/DDT; 58-89-9/Lindane

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