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Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans, biphenyls and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin equivalents in fishes from Saginaw Bay, Michigan

June 17, 1997

Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs), polychlorinated dibenzothiophenes (PCDTs), and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlo-rodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD) equivalents were measured in composite samples of forage fishes and several sizes of walleyes (Stizostedion vitreum) and common carp (Cyprinus carpio) collected from Saginaw Bay, Michigan, USA. The concentrations of 2,3,7,8-TCDD equivalents determined from the use of TCDD equivalency factors (TEFs) and instrumentally determined concentrations of individual congeners were designated TEq. The 2,3,7,8-TCDD equivalents determined on the same extracts with the H4IIE bioassay were defined as TCDD-EQ. Concentrations of TCDD-EQ and TEq were significantly, but poorly correlated (R2 = 0.44). Concentrations of TCDD-EQ and TEq ranged from 10.6 to 348 and 13.5 to 69.5 ng/kg, wet weight, respectively. The ratio of TCDD-EQ to TEq ranged from 0.5 to 5.0, with the greatest ratio observed in common carp but the average ratio between TEq and TCDD-EQ was approximately 1.0. In common carp, larger walleye, and medium-sized alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) there were significant concentrations of TCDD-EQ that could not be accounted for by TEq calculated from an additive model of PCBs, PCDDs, or PCDFs. As much as 75% of the TCDD-EQ in some samples could not be accounted for by TEqs. It is unlikely that PCNs, PCDTs, or polychlorinated diphenyl ethers (PCDEs) occurred at concentrations that were, based on their relative potencies, great enough to contribute significant quantities of TCDD-EQ. The discrepency between TCDD-EQs and TEqs was not due to antagonisms among congeners or extraction efficiencies.