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Polychlorinated biphenyls and their hydroxylated metabolites in wild fish from Wheatley Harbour Area of Concern, Ontario, Canada

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Whole‐body polychlorinated biphenyls (ΣPCBs) and plasma hydroxylated PCBs (OH‐PCBs) concentrations were determined in brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) from Wheatley Harbour, Ontario, Canada. Elevated ΣPCBs in Wheatley Harbour are suspected to have originated from industrial waste disposal and/or discharges from nearby fish processing through discarding of fish remains. Mean ΣPCB concentrations in brown bullhead from Wheatley Harbour were approximately 250 ng/g wet weight compared with approximately 40 ng/g wet weight for brown bullhead from the reference sites, Hillman Marsh and Turkey Creek (both in Ontario, Canada). A significant relationship was found between the concentrations of non‐ortho and mono‐ortho PCB concentrations (toxic equivalents) and liver mixed‐function oxygenase in brown bullhead (r = 0.74, p < 0.001). Plasma OH‐PCB concentrations were greater in Wheatley Harbour brown bullhead than in those from Hillman Marsh (3.6 vs 1.5 ng/g wet wt, p < 0.01), and were detected infrequently in those from Turkey Creek (0.1 ng/g wet wt, n = 2). The OH‐PCB congeners most frequently detected were 4′‐OH‐CB172, 3′‐OH‐CB180, 4‐OH‐CB187, 4‐OH‐CB146, 3‐OH‐CB138, and 4‐OH‐CB130, which are structurally similar to the thyroid hormones. To test the hypothesis of fish waste as the cause of the observed PCB contamination of Wheatley Harbour brown bullhead, a principal component analysis (PCA) was used to compare the brown bullhead PCB congener data with equivalent data for Lake Erie (Ontario, Canada) walleye, Lake Erie sediment, and industrial Aroclor mixtures. The relative proportions of each Aroclor mixture were estimated using the conjugated gradient method. The high similarity between the congener signatures for Lake Erie walleye and Wheatley Harbour brown bullhead supports the hypothesis of contamination from the fish processing industry. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2012 Crown in the Right of Canada

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