Environmental exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls among raccoons (Procyon lotor) at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, Western Kentucky, USA

Philip N. Smith, Kevin A. Johnson, Todd A. Anderson, Scott T. McMurry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

An investigation involving raccoons (Procyon lotor) as a sentinel species at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) in Western Kentucky (USA) delineated the extent of exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and PCB spatial distribution. Raccoon exposure to PCBs was demonstrated through analysis of subcutaneous fat, abdominal fat, liver, and brain tissues from raccoons collected at the PGDP but also was clearly evident in raccoons from a reference area situated along the Ohio River (USA). Raccoons with the highest tissue PCB concentrations appeared to be those inhabiting areas nearest the plant itself and most likely those that ventured into the plants interior. Male raccoons at the PGDP had similar concentrations of total PCBs in subcutaneous fat (1.86 ± 0.64 μg/g) as males from the reference site (1.41 ± 0.35 μg/g), but females had higher PCB body burdens than those at the reference site (9.90 ± 6.13 μg/g vs 0.75 ± 0.40 μg/g). Gross measurements of exposure to radiation-producing materials revealed that counts per minute exceeded background in 61% of PGDP raccoons compared with 27% at the reference site and five raccoons at the PGDP had beta counts that were more than twice the background. Differences among trapping success, growth rates, and serum chemistry parameters were noted but may have been related to habitat and other environmental and population density factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-416
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

Keywords

  • Paducah
  • Polychlorinated biphenyl
  • Raccoon
  • Radiation
  • Serum chemistry

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