Concentrations and geographical patterns of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in meat from semi-domesticated reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus L.) in Norway
Sammendrag: The study aimed at investigating the concentrations and geographical patterns of 11 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 15 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in reindeer muscle samples (n = 100) collected from 10 grazing districts in Norway, 2009. Concentrations were examined for patterns related to geographical region as well as age and sex of animals. Concentrations measured for PCBs and OCPs in reindeer meat samples were generally low. Geographical patterns were revealed and districts with previous mining activities, military trenches, or those that were in the vicinity of the Russian border exhibited slightly elevated concentrations compared to other districts. Calves (10 months) exhibited higher concentrations than young (1.5 year) and old animals (>2 years) adjusted for sex, whereas males exhibited higher concentrations than females, adjusted for age. All PCB congeners inter-correlated strongly with each other, whereas oxy-chlordane and heptachlor epoxide were the strongest inter-correlated OCP compounds. Concentrations of PCBs and OCPs in reindeer meat were all considerably lower than the maximum levels set for those contaminants in foodstuffs for safe human consumption by the European Commission. Thus, reindeer meat is not likely to be a substantial contributor to the human body burden of persistent organic pollutants.