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Comparison of aliphatic hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenylethers, and organochlorine pesticides in Pacific sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus) from offshore oil platforms and natural reefs along

April 2, 2013

Recently, the relative exposure of Pacific sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus) to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at oil-production platforms was reported, indicating negligible exposure to PAHs and no discernible differences between exposures at platforms and nearby natural areas sites. In this report, the potential for chronic PAH exposure in fish is reported, by measurement of recalcitrant, higher molecular weight PAHs in tissues of fish previously investigated for PAH metabolites in bile. A total of 34 PAHs (20 PAHs, 11 alkylated PAHs, and 3 polycyclic aromatic thiophenes) were targeted. In addition, legacy contaminants—polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs),—and current contaminants, polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) linked to endocrine disruption, were measured by gas chromatography with electron-capture or mass spectrometric detection, to form a more complete picture of the contaminant-related status of fishes at oil production platforms in the Southern California Bight. No hydrocarbon profiles or unresolved complex hydrocarbon background were found in fish from platforms and from natural areas, and concentrations of aliphatics were low less than 100 nanograms per gram (ng/g) per component]. Total-PAH concentrations in fish ranged from 15 to 37 ng/g at natural areas and from 8.7 to 22 ng/g at platforms. Profiles of PAHs were similar at all natural and platform sites, consisting mainly of naphthalene and methylnaphthalenes, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and pyrene. Total-PCB concentrations (excluding non-ortho-chloro-substituted congeners) in fish were low, ranging from 7 to 22 ng/g at natural areas and from 10 to 35 ng/g at platforms. About 50 percent of the total-PCBs at all sites consisted of 11 congeners: 153 > 138/163/164 > 110 > 118 > 15 > 99 > 187 > 149 > 180. Most OCPs, except dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)-related compounds, were not detectable or were at concentrations of less than 1 ng/g in fish. p,p′-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (p,p′-DDE) ranged from 5.6 to 33 ng/g at natural areas and from 17 to 76 ng/g at platforms, and comprised greater than 90 percent of the total-DDT concentrations at all sites. The only detectable PBDE congeners were PBDE-47 and PBDE-100, the total concentrations of which ranged from 0.4 to 1.8 ng/g at natural areas and from 0.5 to 3.0 ng/g at platforms. Total-PAH, -PCB, and -DDT concentrations were compared with other Southern California Bight studies involving shoreline mussel, (Mytilus Species, Kimbrough and others, 2008) and near shore sampling (Pacific sanddab, Schiff and Allen, 2000). At corresponding sites, only total-PCB concentrations agreed well with results from this study; total-DDT concentrations were generally much lower than concentrations documented in previous studies for samples collected nearer to shore by sewage treatment outfalls or 14 years earlier or closer in time to when DDT production was halted (1970). Natural areas and platforms in the Bight do not appear to be affected by harbor or urban pollution. Platforms were no more polluted than the nearby natural areas, with these locations exhibiting only low concentrations of PAHs, PCBs, DDTs, and other contaminants.