Despite a sustained effort in surveying flame retardants (FRs) in wildlife from industrialized regions, their occurrence in birds or any other wildlife species spanning the Arctic regions, particularly in North America, has received limited attention. This study investigated in the top predator glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus) breeding in the Eastern Canadian Arctic (Cape Dorset, Nunavut) a comprehensive suite of FRs including unstudied halogenated and non-halogenated FRs of potential health concern, along with legacy organochlorines and mercury. The influence of diet acquired locally and in wintering areas on the tissue contaminant profiles was also investigated using δ15N and δ13C signatures in liver and feathers. The principal constituent in the Deca-brominated diphenyl ether (BDE) mixture, BDE-209, was remarkably the most concentrated PBDE congener determined in liver samples of Eastern Canadian Arctic glaucous gulls. This suggests dietary exposure from the local marine food web and perhaps also from nearby community landfills. Moreover, this study revealed for the first time the presence of 16 emerging halogenated and non-halogenated FRs in glaucous gulls from this Arctic region including HBB, DDC-CO (anti and syn isomers), PBEB, EHTBB, BEHTBP as well as a series of organophosphate esters (OPEs) (TCEP, TCIPP, TPP, TDCIPP, TDBPP, TBNP, TBOEP, TBEP, TCrP, EHDPP, and TEHP). With the exception of BDE-209, concentrations of other halogenated FRs and organochlorines were found to be in the lower range in liver of Eastern Canadian Arctic glaucous gulls compared to individuals from other circumpolar populations (Svalbard and Greenland). Mercury and methylmercury concentrations, however, were greater than reported elsewhere for glaucous gull populations.

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Keywords Arctic, Halogenated flame retardant, Marine bird, Mercury, Organochlorine, Organophosphate ester
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Journal Science of the Total Environment
Verreault, J. (Jonathan), Letcher, R.J, Gentes, M.-L. (Marie-Line), & Braune, B.M. (2018). Unusually high Deca-BDE concentrations and new flame retardants in a Canadian Arctic top predator, the glaucous gull. Science of the Total Environment, 639, 977–987. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.05.222