Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

No. 249: New and updated time trends of persistent organic pollutants and their effects on eggs of peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) from South Greenland

Vorkamp, K., Falk, F., Møller, S., Rigét, F.F., Bossi, R. & Sørensen, P.B. 2017. New and updated time trends of persistent organic pollutants and their effects on eggs of peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) from South Greenland. Aarhus University, DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy, 80 pp. Scientific Report from DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy No. 249 http://dce2.au.dk/pub/SR249.pdf

Summary

Peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) accumulate persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to high concentrations. DDT and its metabolites caused severe effects on reproduction and population survival in the past. In this study, we addressed the following organic pollutants in eggs of peregrine falcons from South Greenland: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT and its metabolites, hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), chlordane-related pesticides, toxaphene, polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs), several groups of brominated flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD), hexabromobiphenyl (BB) 153, “novel” flame retardants), dechlorane plus and perfluorinated alkylated substances (PFASs). The concentrations were generally high in a bioaccumulation context, i.e. in the µg/g range for the organochlorine POPs. Some eggs reached critical levels for DDE, but those were generally eggs from the 1980s. Time trend analyses covering the period 1986-2014 showed decreasing concentrations for the organochlorine POPs, including PCNs, with the exception of α-HCH and toxaphene. BB-153 and some perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFSAs) decreased as well, while significant increases were found for BDE-209 and some of the long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs). The “novel” flame retardants were detectable in the peregrine falcon eggs, but concentrations were comparably low (i.e. < 5 ng/g lipid weight) and only seemed to increase for dechlorane plus. The eggshell thickness increased significantly over the study period and was predicted to reach the pre-DDT level by 2034. However, breeding success of the South Greenland peregrine population has lately been low, possibly related to climate factors.