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Legacy and contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in tree swallows along an agricultural to industrial gradient: Maumee River, OH

June 4, 2020

Exposure to multiple classes of contaminants, both legacy and contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), were assessed in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) tissue and diet samples from 6 sites along the Maumee River, Ohio, USA, to understand both exposure and possible effects of exposure to those CECs for which there are little avian data. The 6 sites represented a gradient from intensive agriculture upstream to highly urbanized and industrial landscapes downstream; 1 or 2 remote Wisconsin lakes were assessed for comparative purposes. Cytochrome P450 induction, DNA damage, and thyroid function were also assessed relative to contaminant exposure. Bioaccumulative CECs, such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorinated substances, did not follow any upstream to downstream gradient; but both had significantly greater concentrations along the Maumee River than at the remote lake sites. Greater exposure to PBDEs was apparent in swallows at or near wastewater‐treatment facilities than at other sites. Total polychlorinated biphenyl and total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations were greater in swallows at downstream locations compared to upstream sites and were associated with higher ethoxyresorufin‐O‐dealkylase activity. Few herbicides or nonorganochlorine insecticides were detected in swallow tissues or their food, except for atrazine and its metabolite desethylatrazine. Few pharmaceuticals and personal care products were detected except for DEET and iopamidol. Both were detected in most liver samples but not in eggs, as well as detected at the remote lake sites. This is one of the most comprehensive assessments to date of exposure and effects of a wide variety of CECs in birds. 

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Legacy and contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in tree swallows along an agricultural to industrial gradient: Maumee River, OH
DOI 10.1002/etc.4792
Authors Christine M. Custer, Thomas W. Custer, Paul Dummer, Sandra L. Schultz, Chi Yen Tseng, Natalie K. Karouna-Renier, Cole W. Matson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Index ID 70214586
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center