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In terms of reproductive and other adverse outcomes after exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and furans, the mink (Mustela vison) is one of the most sensitive mammals. Our objective was to determine if there are differences in the concentrations of total mercury (Hg), total PCBs, and dioxin-furan toxic equivalents (TEQs) between mink living in and out of the Rochester Embayment of Lake Ontario (RELO) Area of Concern (AOC) and between mink living near the shore of Lake Ontario and inland. Concentrations of total Hg in brain, total PCB and dioxin-furan TEQ in adipose, and total PCB in liver were significantly higher for mink living near the shore of Lake Ontario than inland. For mink living in and out of the AOC, differences in total PCB and dioxin-furan TEQ in adipose and liver were substantial but not significant. Correlations between concentrations of total Hg, total PCB, and dioxin-furan TEQ in mink were high. Our results suggest that contamination of mink living near the southern shore of Lake Ontario primarily comes from contact with the Lake Ontario food web, not from sources in the RELO AOC.


Randall Baase, Matt Lochner, and other trappers contributed carcasses; Scott Wells and Ross Abbett dissected the mink. ―Doc‖ Fink, Dick Sands, Mel Reber, and Al Burkhart allowed us to collect mink on their property, as did James Slusarczyk of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. Gregory M. Sumner prepared samples for gas chromatographic analysis. Carol Zollweg created Figure 1. Two anonymous reviewers greatly improved the quality of the manuscript. This project was funded by grant C302399 from the New York State Great Lakes Protection Fund.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Haynes, J.M., Pagano, J.J. & Wellman, S.T. Total PCBs, Dioxin-Furan TEQs and Total Mercury Concentrations in Mink In and Out of the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern Near and Inland from the Shore of Lake Ontario. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol (2009) 57: 794.

Publisher Statement

Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) is the version accepted for publication in a journal following peer review but prior to copy editing and typesetting that can be made available under the conditions after a 12 month embargo.