Selected trace elements and organochlorines: Some findings in blood and eggs of nesting common eiders (Somateria mollissima) from Finland

J. Christian Franson, Tuula Hollmén, Robert H Poppenga, Martti Hario, Mikael Kilpi, Milton R. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


In 1997 and 1998, we collected blood samples from nesting adult female common eiders (Somateria mollissima) at five locations in the Baltic Sea near coastal Finland and analyzed them for lead, selenium, mercury, and arsenic. Eggs were collected from three locations in 1997 for analysis of selenium, mercury, arsenic, and 17 organochlorines (OCs). Mean blood lead concentrations varied by location and year and ranged from 0.02 ppm (residues in blood on wet weight basis) to 0.12 ppm, although one bird had 14.2 ppm lead in its blood. Lead residues in the blood of eiders were positively correlated with the stage of incubation, and lead inhibited the activity of the enzyme delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) in the blood. Selenium concentrations in eider blood varied by location, with means of 1.26 to 2.86 ppm. Median residues of selenium and mercury in eider eggs were 0.55 and 0.10 ppm (residues in eggs on fresh weight basis), respectively, and concentrations of both selenium and mercury in eggs were correlated with those in blood. Median concentrations of p,p'- dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene in eggs ranged from 13.1 to 29.6 ppb, but all other OCs were below detection limits. The residues of contaminants that we found in eggs were below concentrations generally considered to affect avian reproduction. The negative correlation of ALAD activity with blood lead concentrations is evidence of an adverse physiological effect of lead exposure in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1340-1347
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Common eider
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Organochlorines
  • Selenium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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