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Dietary exposure of mink (Mustela vison) to fish from the upper Hudson River, New York, USA: Effects on reproduction and offspring growth and mortality

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The effects of feeding farm‐raised mink (Mustela vison) diets containing polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)–contaminated fish from the upper Hudson River (New York, USA) on adult reproductive performance and kit growth and mortality were evaluated. Diets contained 2.5 to 20% Hudson River fish, providing 0.72 to 6.1 µg ΣPCBs/g feed (4.8–38 pg toxic equivalents [TEQWHO 2005]/g feed). The percentage of stillborn kits per litter was significantly increased by dietary concentrations of 4.5 µg ΣPCBs/g feed (28 pg TEQWHO 2005/g feed) and greater. All offspring exposed to dietary concentrations of 4.5 and 6.1 µg ΣPCBs/g feed (28 and 38 pg TEQWHO 2005/g feed) died by 10 weeks of age, and all offspring exposed to 1.5 and 2.8 µg ΣPCBs/g feed (10 and 18 pg TEQWHO 2005/g feed) died by 31 weeks of age, leaving juveniles in the control and 0.72‐µg ΣPCBs/g feed (0.41‐ and 4.8‐pg TEQWHO 2005/g feed) groups only. The dietary concentration predicted to result in 20% kit mortality (LC20) at six weeks of age was 0.34 µg ΣPCBs/g feed (2.6 pg TEQWHO 2005/g feed). The corresponding maternal hepatic concentration was 0.80 µg ΣPCBs/g liver, wet weight (13 pg TEQWHO 2005/g liver, wet wt). Mink residing in the upper Hudson River would be expected to consume species of fish that contain an average of 4.0 µg ΣPCBs/g tissue. Thus, a daily diet composed of less than 10% Hudson River fish could provide a dietary concentration of ΣPCBs that resulted in 20% kit mortality in the present study. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2012 SETAC

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