Brominated flame retardants and organochlorines in the European environment using great tit eggs as a biomonitoring tool

Evi Van den Steen, Rianne Pinxten, Veerle L B Jaspers, Adrian Covaci, Emilio Barba, Claudio Carere, Mariusz Cichoń, Anna Dubiec, Tapio Eeva, Philipp Heeb, Bart Kempenaers, Jan T. Lifjeld, Thomas Lubjuhn, Raivo Mänd, Bruno Massa, Jan Åke Nilsson, Ana Cláudia Norte, Markku Orell, Petr Podzemny, Juan José Sanz & 7 others Juan Carlos Senar, Juan José Soler, Alberto Sorace, J. Török, Marcel E. Visser, Wolfgang Winkel, Marcel Eens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Large-scale studies are essential to assess the emission patterns and spatial distribution of organohalogenated pollutants (OHPs) in the environment. Bird eggs have several advantages compared to other environmental media which have previously been used to map the distribution of OHPs. In this study, large-scale geographical variation in the occurrence of OHPs, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), was investigated throughout Europe using eggs of a terrestrial residential passerine species, the great tit (Parus major). Great tit eggs from 22 sampling sites, involving urban, rural and remote areas, in 14 European countries were collected and analysed (5-8 eggs per sampling site). The environmentally most important congeners/compounds of the analysed pollutants were detectable in all sampling locations. For PCBs, PBDEs and OCPs, no clear geographical contamination pattern was found. Sum PCB levels ranged from 143 ng/g lipid weight (lw) to 3660 ng/g lw. As expected, PCB concentrations were significantly higher in the sampled urban compared to the remote locations. However, the urban locations did not show significantly higher concentrations compared to the rural locations. Sum PBDEs ranged from 4.0 ng/g lw to 136 ng/g lw. PBDEs were significantly higher in the urbanized sampling locations compared to the other locations. The significant, positive correlation between PCB and PBDE concentrations suggests similar spatial exposure and/or mechanisms of accumulation. Significantly higher levels of OCPs (sum OCPs ranging from 191 ng/g lw to 7830 ng/g lw) were detected in rural sampling locations. Contamination profiles of PCBs, PBDEs and OCPs differed also among the sampling locations, which may be due to local usage and contamination sources. The higher variance among sampling locations for the PCBs and OCPs, suggests that local contamination sources are more important for the PCBs and OCPs compared to the PBDEs. To our knowledge, this is the first study in which bird eggs were used as a monitoring tool for OHPs on such a large geographical scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-317
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironment International
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

Fingerprint

biomonitoring
PBDE
organochlorine
PCB
egg
lipid
sampling
pollutant
bird
flame retardant
urban site
passerine
geographical variation
organochlorine pesticide
spatial distribution
contamination
monitoring

Keywords

  • Biomonitoring
  • Eggs
  • Europe
  • Great tit
  • Organochlorine pesticides
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

Van den Steen, E., Pinxten, R., Jaspers, V. L. B., Covaci, A., Barba, E., Carere, C., ... Eens, M. (2009). Brominated flame retardants and organochlorines in the European environment using great tit eggs as a biomonitoring tool. Environment International, 35(2), 310-317. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2008.08.002

Brominated flame retardants and organochlorines in the European environment using great tit eggs as a biomonitoring tool. / Van den Steen, Evi; Pinxten, Rianne; Jaspers, Veerle L B; Covaci, Adrian; Barba, Emilio; Carere, Claudio; Cichoń, Mariusz; Dubiec, Anna; Eeva, Tapio; Heeb, Philipp; Kempenaers, Bart; Lifjeld, Jan T.; Lubjuhn, Thomas; Mänd, Raivo; Massa, Bruno; Nilsson, Jan Åke; Norte, Ana Cláudia; Orell, Markku; Podzemny, Petr; Sanz, Juan José; Senar, Juan Carlos; Soler, Juan José; Sorace, Alberto; Török, J.; Visser, Marcel E.; Winkel, Wolfgang; Eens, Marcel.

In: Environment International, Vol. 35, No. 2, 02.2009, p. 310-317.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Van den Steen, E, Pinxten, R, Jaspers, VLB, Covaci, A, Barba, E, Carere, C, Cichoń, M, Dubiec, A, Eeva, T, Heeb, P, Kempenaers, B, Lifjeld, JT, Lubjuhn, T, Mänd, R, Massa, B, Nilsson, JÅ, Norte, AC, Orell, M, Podzemny, P, Sanz, JJ, Senar, JC, Soler, JJ, Sorace, A, Török, J, Visser, ME, Winkel, W & Eens, M 2009, 'Brominated flame retardants and organochlorines in the European environment using great tit eggs as a biomonitoring tool', Environment International, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 310-317. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2008.08.002
Van den Steen, Evi ; Pinxten, Rianne ; Jaspers, Veerle L B ; Covaci, Adrian ; Barba, Emilio ; Carere, Claudio ; Cichoń, Mariusz ; Dubiec, Anna ; Eeva, Tapio ; Heeb, Philipp ; Kempenaers, Bart ; Lifjeld, Jan T. ; Lubjuhn, Thomas ; Mänd, Raivo ; Massa, Bruno ; Nilsson, Jan Åke ; Norte, Ana Cláudia ; Orell, Markku ; Podzemny, Petr ; Sanz, Juan José ; Senar, Juan Carlos ; Soler, Juan José ; Sorace, Alberto ; Török, J. ; Visser, Marcel E. ; Winkel, Wolfgang ; Eens, Marcel. / Brominated flame retardants and organochlorines in the European environment using great tit eggs as a biomonitoring tool. In: Environment International. 2009 ; Vol. 35, No. 2. pp. 310-317.
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N2 - Large-scale studies are essential to assess the emission patterns and spatial distribution of organohalogenated pollutants (OHPs) in the environment. Bird eggs have several advantages compared to other environmental media which have previously been used to map the distribution of OHPs. In this study, large-scale geographical variation in the occurrence of OHPs, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), was investigated throughout Europe using eggs of a terrestrial residential passerine species, the great tit (Parus major). Great tit eggs from 22 sampling sites, involving urban, rural and remote areas, in 14 European countries were collected and analysed (5-8 eggs per sampling site). The environmentally most important congeners/compounds of the analysed pollutants were detectable in all sampling locations. For PCBs, PBDEs and OCPs, no clear geographical contamination pattern was found. Sum PCB levels ranged from 143 ng/g lipid weight (lw) to 3660 ng/g lw. As expected, PCB concentrations were significantly higher in the sampled urban compared to the remote locations. However, the urban locations did not show significantly higher concentrations compared to the rural locations. Sum PBDEs ranged from 4.0 ng/g lw to 136 ng/g lw. PBDEs were significantly higher in the urbanized sampling locations compared to the other locations. The significant, positive correlation between PCB and PBDE concentrations suggests similar spatial exposure and/or mechanisms of accumulation. Significantly higher levels of OCPs (sum OCPs ranging from 191 ng/g lw to 7830 ng/g lw) were detected in rural sampling locations. Contamination profiles of PCBs, PBDEs and OCPs differed also among the sampling locations, which may be due to local usage and contamination sources. The higher variance among sampling locations for the PCBs and OCPs, suggests that local contamination sources are more important for the PCBs and OCPs compared to the PBDEs. To our knowledge, this is the first study in which bird eggs were used as a monitoring tool for OHPs on such a large geographical scale.

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