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Long-term trends in PBDEs in Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) eggs indicate sustained contamination of UK terrestrial ecosystems

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Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>21/11/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
Volume46
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)13504-13511
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

PBDE contamination in terrestrial biota is poorly characterized, and robust data on temporal trends are scarce. We measured temporal (1985–2007) and spatial trends in PBDE contamination in the eggs of the sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), a sentinel for the terrestrial environment. Five BDEs were the most abundant (BDE 99 > 47 > 153 > 100 > 154). Their concentrations, and that of the sum PBDEs (ΣPBDE), increased from the mid-1980s, peaking in the midlate 1990s at levels that were sustained until the end of the study. This and the predominance of BDE99 contrast with patterns in piscivorous species and suggest sparrowhawks, and perhaps terrestrial species more widely, may be relatively poor metabolizers of penta-BDEs. BDE 196, 197, 201, and 203 concentrations increased linearly through the study, indicating increasing contamination possibly from the presence of these congeners in, and/or debromination of, deca-BDE formulations. Variation in egg ΣPBDE concentration was not explained by % urban land cover, human population density or % of arable land in proximity to the nest site, or by land use. Overall, egg ΣPBDE concentrations (34–2281 ng/g wet weight) were some of the highest reported in birds from Europe. We found no relationship between ΣPBDE concentrations and eggshell thickness.