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Fishes of commercial importance were monitored in New England coastal waters in 1974 to determine whether synthetic organic residues in the fish were large enough to affect the utilization of such fish as food by man or to interfere with their ability to reproduce. About 700 fish of 20 species were pooled in samples of five to ten, and the livers were analyzed. Several species, including the spiny dogfish, contained residues of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its metabolites and of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) compounds in the 1 to 10 μg/g (ppm) range. More detailed studies of the dogfish in 1975 demonstrated the transfer of these compounds from the parent fish to the ovarian egg and the mature fetus.
The proportions of the DDT metabolites found suggest that this pesticide had been accumulating in the 18 to 20-year period of maturation of the female and was passed on to the first brood of young. In contrast to the findings of other investigations, there was no fixed relationship in the relative magnitude of DDT and PCB residues when both compounds were present in a sample.
DDT, PCB, bioaccumulation, monitoring, aquatic toxicology
Project officer, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf Breeze, Fla.
Chemist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Space Technology Laboratories Station, Miss.,