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Aquatic environmental contamination levels of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals in the Upper Thames catchment area, UK were assessed on the basis of fish muscle analysis in wet weight, and their effects on top predators were assessed. The contamination levels of lead, cadmium, dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) and its metabolites were found to be low (undetectable) in the area. Average mercury contamination level varied between 55 and 342 microg/kg, dieldrin between less than 0.09 and 36.8, lindane between < 0.08 and 4.94, and PCBs between < 0.77 and 3.32. Eels (Anguilla anguilla) had always much higher concentration of OCPs compared to the other fishes from the same monitoring sites. The environmental contamination level of PCBs may be partly associated with industrial and human activities, however, it was difficult to find such associations for mercury level. The hazard indices (HI) of both dieldrin and PCBs were below 1 for mink (Mustela vison). However, the HI of mercury of the all fish species from all monitoring sites are above 1 for mink. These contamination levels may be less harmful to polecats (Mustela putorius), but more so to otters (Lutra lutra) as their diets are dominated by aquatic prey.


Journal article



Publication Date





265 - 273


Animals, England, Environmental Monitoring, Fishes, Food Chain, Insecticides, Mass Spectrometry, Mercury, Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Species Specificity, Spectrometry, Fluorescence, Water Pollutants, Chemical