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Margaret Mead
Research Article

Brominated Flame Retardants in North-East Atlantic Marine Ecosystems


BackgroundConcentrations of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are reported to increase in marine ecosystems.ObjectivesCharacterize exposure to BFRs in animals from different trophic levels in North-East Atlantic coastal marine ecosystems along a latitudinal gradient from southern Norway to Spitsbergen, Svalbard, in the Arctic. Calanoid species were collected from the Oslofjord (59°N), Froan (64°N), and Spitsbergen (> 78°N); Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) from the Oslofjord and Froan; polar cod (Boreogadus saida) from Bear Island (74°N) and Spitsbergen; harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) from the Oslofjord, Froan, and Spitsbergen; and ringed seal (Phoca vitulina) from Spitsbergen. Eggs of common tern (Sterna hirundo) were collected from the Oslofjord, and eggs of arctic terns (Sterna paradisaea) from Froan and Spitsbergen.ResultsLevels of polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) generally decreased as a function of increasing latitude, reflecting distance from release sources. The clear latitudinal decrease in levels of BFRs was not pronounced in the two tern species, most likely because they are exposed during migration. The decabrominated compound BDE-209 was detected in animals from all three ecosystems, and the highest levels were found in arctic tern eggs from Spitsbergen. HBCD was found in animals from all trophic levels, except for in calanoids at Froan and Spitsbergen.ConclusionsEven though the levels of PBDEs and HBCD are generally low in North-East Atlantic coastal marine ecosystems, there are concerns about the relatively high presence of BDE-209 and HBCD.