Concentrations and distributions of polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorines were quantified in 79 wild mink livers as part of a study to assess the use of mink as biomonitors of organic contaminants in wetlands. Samples were collected from fifteen southern Ontario townships, including townships bordering the Great Lakes and further inland, to quantify the relative importance of the Great Lakes food webs on contaminant levels observed in feral mink populations. The mink population in Mersea Township (Chatham District), bordering Lake Erie, was found to have significantly higher concentrations (1,797 μg/kg total PCB, wet weight) of many of the contaminants quantified. Reach Township (Lindsay District), inland from Lake Ontario, had significantly lower concentrations (39 μg/kg total PCB, wet weight). Multivariate analysis of organochlorine data demonstrated little spatial difference among PCB congener distribution patterns, except a greater proportion of total PCB was contributed by PCB 118 in mink taken from Wainfleet (Niagara District) and Reach Townships. The more toxic non-ortho PCBs were rarely found above levels of detection (0.05 μg/kg), and PCBs 126 and 118 represented over 90% of the estimated TEQ. In the more contaminated areas, PCB concentrations were sufficiently high to potentially affect the fitness of mink populations.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Biomonitors, Great Lakes, Mink, Non-ortho PCBs, Polychlorinated biphenyls
Persistent URL
Journal Journal of Great Lakes Research
Haffner, G.D. (G. Douglas), Glooschenko, V. (Val), Straughan, C.A. (Cameron A.), Hebert, C.E, & Lazar, R. (Rodica). (1998). Concentrations and distributions of polychlorinated biphenyls, including non-ortho congeners, in mink populations from southern Ontario. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 24(4), 880–888. doi:10.1016/S0380-1330(98)70869-X