Liver concentrations of flame retardants in Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) collected from Scotland between 2013 and 2015: a Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) report

Walker, L.A.; Moeckel, C.; Pereira, M.G.; Potter, E.D.; Chadwick, E.A.; Shore, R.F.. 2016 Liver concentrations of flame retardants in Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) collected from Scotland between 2013 and 2015: a Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) report. Lancaster, NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, 14pp. (CEH Project no. C05191)

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The Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS; is the umbrella project that encompasses the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology’s National Capability contaminant monitoring and surveillance work on avian predators. By monitoring sentinel vertebrate species, the PBMS aims to detect and quantify current and emerging chemical threats to the environment and in particular to vertebrate wildlife. The current study presents the results of a study in which the concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were determined in the livers of a small sample of Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) that died in Scotland between 2013 and 2015. The principle aim of this work was to determine the current concentrations of PBDEs that are accumulated by otters in Scotland and whether these concentrations are likely to cause adverse effects in those individuals analysed. The otters that were analysed included adult and sub-adult, males and females although there were insufficient sample numbers to test for differences among these demographic groups. Liver tissue was analysed using Gas Chromatograph – Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). PBDEs were detected in all otter livers analysed, with congeners BDE47, BDE153 and BDE100 dominant in the congener profile. The toxicological consequences of exposure to PBDEs in otters are uncertain given the lack of established links between liver PBDE concentrations and health effects in this species but concentrations were lower than those associated with adverse effects in mink. The general low levels of PBDEs suggests that there is little evidence to date of toxicologically significant contamination of Scottish otters with these compounds. There is clear evidence that Scottish otters have significantly lower residues of the less-brominated PBDEs than those previously measured in otters from England and Wales. However, these results may not be representative of otters from throughout Scotland as the present sample came predominantly from the Inner Hebrides.

Item Type: Publication - Report
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Shore
Funders/Sponsors: NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Natural England, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Defra, Scottish Environment Protection Agency
Additional Keywords: annual report, flame retardants, polybrominated flame retardants, PBDE, otter, Lutra lutra, monitoring, United Kingdom, UK, Scotland, environmental contamination, persistent organic pollutants
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
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Date made live: 21 Sep 2016 13:20 +0 (UTC)

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