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

Crosse, John D.; Shore, Richard F.; Wadsworth, Richard A.; Jones, Kevin C.; Pereira, M. Glória. 2012 Long-term trends in PBDEs in sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) eggs indicate sustained contamination of UK terrestrial ecosystems. Environmental Science & Technology, 46 (24). 13504-13511.

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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.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 3 - Managing Threats to Environment and Health
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Shore
ISSN: 0013-936X
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This document is the author’s final manuscript version of the journal article, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer review process. Some differences between this and the publisher’s version remain. You are advised to consult the publisher’s version if you wish to cite from this article. The definitive version is available at
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 17 Dec 2012 14:03 +0 (UTC)

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