Industrial, agricultural, and petroleum contaminants in cormorants wintering near the Houston Ship Channel, Texas, USA
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Double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) collected in the Houston Ship Channel, Texas, USA, in November shortly after their fall migration contained residues of several industrial, agricultural, and petroleum contaminants including polychlorinated styrenes (PCS's), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's), DDE, and petroleum hydrocarbons. PCS concentrations in over-wintering birds collected in late February were three times higher than those in birds collected in November. PCB and petroleum concentrations remained at about the same level throughout the 3-month winter period. Petroleum hydrocarbons were present in all cormorants and residues in some individuals exceeded 25 ppm (wet weight). Mean DDE residues in samples collected in November and February were less than 1 ppm. Low concentrations of five other organochlorine compounds, not detected in cormorants collected in November, were recovered in birds collected in February.