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Issue 2, 2004
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Organotins in marine mammals and seabirds from Norwegian territory

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An increasing number of studies indicate that marine mammals and some seabirds are exposed to organotins. However, results from northern and Arctic areas are few. Here results from analysis of tributyltin (TBT), dibutyltin (DBT), monobutyltin (MBT), triphenyltin (TPhT), diphenyltin (DPhT) and monophenyltin (MPhT) in harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), common seal (Phoca vitulina), ringed seal (Phoca hispida) and glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus) from Norwegian territory are presented. Relatively high concentrations of DBT, TBT and MBT were observed in muscle, kidney and liver from harbour porpoises caught in northern Norway in 1988, just before restrictions on the use of tributyltin (TBT) (mainly on small boats) were introduced in several European countries. The concentrations in harbour porpoise muscle tissue were reduced significantly 11 years later, possibly as a result of the introduced restrictions. Considerably lower concentrations of butyltins were observed in the seals compared to porpoises. The lowest levels of organotins were found in ringed seals from Spitsbergen, where only traces of dibutyltin (DBT) and monobutyltin (MBT) were observed. Traces of DBT and MBT were also found in some individual glaucous gulls from Bear Island. The sum of the degradation products MBT and DBT in liver samples from all analysed species were generally higher than TBT itself. Triphenyltin (TPhT) was observed in all porpoise samples and in livers of common seals. Also the sum of the degradation products MPhT and DPhT in liver samples from porpoise and common seals were higher than TPhT. No traces of phenyltins were found in ringed seals from Spitsbergen or in glaucous gulls from Bear Island. The limited data available indicate low to moderate exposure to organotins in northern areas (Spitsbergen and Bear Island). Marine mammals are however more exposed further south along the Norwegian Coast.

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Article information

26 Sep 2003
24 Nov 2003
First published
06 Jan 2004

J. Environ. Monit., 2004,6, 108-112
Article type

Organotins in marine mammals and seabirds from Norwegian territory

J. A. Berge, E. M. Brevik, A. Bjørge, N. Følsvik, G. W. Gabrielsen and H. Wolkers, J. Environ. Monit., 2004, 6, 108
DOI: 10.1039/B311662J

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