Levels and trends of industrial chemicals (PCBs, PFCs, PBDEs) in archived herring gull eggs from German coastal regions

2012, Journals

Fliedner, Annette; Rüdel, Heinz; Jürling, Heinrich; Müller, Josef; Neugebauer, Frank; Schröter-Kermani, Christa
Environmental Sciences Europe 2012, 24:7



Polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs], perfluorinated compounds, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers [PBDEs] were retrospectively analyzed in archived herring gull (Larus argentatus) eggs from the North and the Baltic Sea over the last 20 years. The aim was to assess temporal trends and effects of regulatory measures.


PCBs (sum of 7 congeners) were highest in eggs from the North Sea island Trischen, i.e., 3,710 to 20,760 ng/g lipid weight [lw] compared to 2,530 to 11,650 ng/g lw on the North Sea island Mellum and 4,840 to 9,190 ng/g lw on the Baltic Sea island Heuwiese. During the study period, PCBs decreased significantly. Concentrations of PFOS ranged between 46 and 170 ng/g wet weight [ww] at Trischen, 39 to 99 ng/g ww at Mellum, and 20 to 159 ng/g ww at Heuwiese. Since 2000 and 2003, concentration levels decreased in eggs from Mellum and Heuwiese, respectively. Perfluorooctanoic acid was the dominant perfluorinated carboxylic acid in the North Sea eggs (Trischen 2.0 to 74 ng/g ww; Mellum 2.6 to 118 ng/g ww), whereas perfluoroundecanoate [PFUnA] and perfluorodecanoate [PFDA] (means 3.9 +/- 3.6 ng/g and 2.9 +/- 2.3 ng/g ww, respectively) dominated in the Baltic Sea eggs. At all three locations, longer-chained perfluorinated carboxylic acids (perfluorononanoate, PFDA, PFUnA, perfluorododecanoate) increased during the monitoring period. PBDE concentrations (sum of 35 congeners) in eggs were in the ranges of 282 to 2,059 ng/g lw (Mellum), 116 to 1,722 ng/g (Trischen), and 232 to 2,021 ng/g lw (Heuwiese). Congeners associated with commercial Penta- and Octa-BDE formulations decreased during the study period. No decrease was observed for technical Deca-BDE.


Effects of regulatory measures were apparent for PCBs and Penta- and Octa-BDE, while no consistent trend is noticeable for PFOS.

doi:10.1186/2190-4715-24-7  (open access)