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Ecotoxins in seabird eggs

09.03.2006


At the behest of the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority SFT), a 20-year long study of ecotoxins in seabird eggs has been carried out by the Norwegian Polar Institute in collaboration with Tromsø Museum (of the University of Tromsø), the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science and the National Veterinary Institute of Norway.



Eggs from herring gulls (Larus argentatus), glaucus gulls (L. hyperboreus), black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) and puffins (Fratercula arctica), collected from various locations in northern Norway and Svalbard, have been analysed to determine their levels of contaminants such as brominated flame retardants and mercury.

The research shows that the concentration of brominated flame retardants has risen since 1983 and that these toxins have spread far from their original sources. The flame retardant HBCDD has had a particularly marked increase during the last 20 years. In addition, prohibited flame retardants such as okta-BDE have increased throughout the 20 year period.


Mercury levels in seabird eggs in this study are lower than those revealed by studies of eggs collected closer to mercury sources. Mercury concentrations have remained more or less constant during the study period, despite stringent legal restrictions on the release of mercury into the environment. This illustrates how ecotoxins can remain in the environment for a long time even after the supply has been cut off.

Gunn Sissel Jaklin | alfa
Further information:
http://npiweb.npolar.no/

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