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An exposure study with polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris): Toxicokinetics and reproductive effects

Steen, Evi van den, Eens, Marcel, Covaci, Adrian, Dirtu, Alin C., Jaspers, Veerle L.B., Neels, Hugo, Pinxten, Rianne
Environmental pollution 2009 v.157 no.2 pp. 430-436
Sturnus vulgaris, birds, blood serum, egg weight, eggs, females, oviposition, pharmacokinetics, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, reproductive performance
We exposed female European starlings to a pentabromodiphenyl ether (Penta-BDE) mixture through subcutaneous implants, and examined levels and profiles of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) together with reproductive effects. Sum PBDE levels increased significantly in the serum of the exposed females from 218 ± 43 to 23,400 ± 2035 pg/ml. Sum PBDE concentrations in the eggs of the exposed group ranged from 130 ± 12 to 220 ± 37 ng/g wet weight (ww). The profile in serum after egg laying was very similar to that in eggs. There were no detectable levels of HO-PBDEs in both serum and eggs. Fewer females of the exposed group initiated egg laying compared to the control group, although the difference was not significant. In addition, egg weight and volume were significantly higher in the exposed group. These results suggest that, at the investigated exposure levels (150 μg sum PBDEs/bird), PBDEs may have a negative effect on reproductive performance.