Bioaccumulation factors for PCBs revisited
Environmental Science and Technology
Bioaccumulation factors (BAFs)for individual polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners in Barents Sea and White Sea marine calanoid copepods were 1-3 orders of magnitude higher than BAFs in the same species in Canadian and Alaskan Arctic Ocean areas, and in freshwater plankton (Lake Ontario) reported from the mid- to early 1980s. The present study reviews variability in PCB BAFs from the North American Great Lakes and the Arctic Ocean, and discusses possible explanations for the large variation among different studies. BAFs are higher in recent arctic marine and Great Lakes studies than previously reported, and they are at least 10 times higher than those predicted from the octanol-water partition coefficient (KOW). If the recent high BAFs are realistic, it means that earlier reported BAFs are too low. This is likely due to earlier erroneously high quantification of water PCB concentrations, and it implies that bioaccumulation in zooplankton is more efficient than previously assumed. Evidence is presented supporting that also trophic transfer and biomagnification of PCBs in zooplankton leads to BAFs well above those predicted by simple equilibrium partitioning. Overall, miss-measurement of water PCB concentrations and biomagnification contribute significantly to variability in BAFs for PCBs within and among studies. This large variability of BAFs for PCBs in zooplankton illustrated in the present study is of importance for future assessments of potential new bioaccumulative chemicals that rely on measured BAFs, such as the European Union Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals program (REACH). © 2005 American Chemical Society.
Borgå, Katrine; Fisk, Aaron T.; Hargrave, Barry; Hoekstra, Paul F.; Swackhamer, Deborah; and Muir, Derek C.G.. (2005). Bioaccumulation factors for PCBs revisited. Environmental Science and Technology, 39 (12), 4523-4532.