Disruptive effects of persistent organohalogen contaminants on thyroid function in white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from Svalbard

The sample sizes were low and statistical models cannot depict the biological cause–effect relationships, this study suggests negative influences of specific organohalogen contaminants, PBDEs, on thyroid hormone levels in white whales

G.D. Villanger; C. Lydersen; K.M. Kovacs; E. Lie; J.U. Skaare; B.M. Jenssen

2011

Scholarcy highlights

  • We analysed levels of 56 organohalogen contaminants including brominated flame retardants, polychlorinated biphenyls, and organochlorine pesticides in the blubber of white whales from Svalbard, Norway collected in 1996–2001
  • The results confirm that OHC levels in these white whales are among the highest levels recorded in wildlife from Svalbard, and at the high end of the range when compared to white whales from the North American Arctic
  • The positive correlations of TT4, free T4 and FT3 with hexabromocyclododecane, α-hexachlorocyclohexane, chlorinated bornanes CHB-40 and CHB-62 revealed by the projection to latent structure model were not confirmed by partial correlations
  • thyroid hormones levels in the present study appeared to be somewhat lower than levels measured in beluga whales from the Canadian Arctic
  • We were not able to determine if this was caused by different levels of OHCs, or differences in biological factors and analytical methods between the studies
  • The sample sizes were low and statistical models cannot depict the biological cause–effect relationships, this study suggests negative influences of specific OHCs, PBDEs, on thyroid hormone levels in white whales
  • The impact this might have on individual and population health is unknown

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