Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in Catfish and Carp Collected from the Rio Grande Upstream and Downstream of Los Alamos National Laboratory: Revision 1

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Concern has existed for years that the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), a complex of nuclear weapons research and support facilities, has released polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to the environment that may have reached adjacent bodies of water through canyons that connect them. In 1997, LANL's Ecology Group began measuring PCBs in fish in the Rio Grande upstream and downstream of ephemeral streams that cross LANL and later began sampling fish in Abiquiu and Cochiti reservoirs, which are situated on the Rio Chama and Rio Grande upstream and downstream of LANL, respectively. In 2002, we electroshocked channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) and ... continued below

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Fresquez, Gilbert J. Gonzales Philip R. May 12, 2008.

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Concern has existed for years that the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), a complex of nuclear weapons research and support facilities, has released polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to the environment that may have reached adjacent bodies of water through canyons that connect them. In 1997, LANL's Ecology Group began measuring PCBs in fish in the Rio Grande upstream and downstream of ephemeral streams that cross LANL and later began sampling fish in Abiquiu and Cochiti reservoirs, which are situated on the Rio Chama and Rio Grande upstream and downstream of LANL, respectively. In 2002, we electroshocked channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) and common carp (Carpiodes carpio) in the Rio Grande upstream and downstream of LANL and analyzed fillets for PCB congeners. We also sampled soils along the Rio Chama and Rio Grande drainages to discern whether a background atmospheric source of PCBs that could impact surface water adjacent to LANL might exist. Trace concentrations of PCBs measured in soil (mean = 4.7E-05 {micro}g/g-ww) appear to be from background global atmospheric sources, at least in part, because the bimodal distribution of low-chlorinated PCB congeners and mid-chlorinated PCB congeners in the soil samples is interpreted to be typical of volatilized PCB congeners that are found in the atmosphere and dust from global fallout. Upstream catfish (n = 5) contained statistically (P = 0.047) higher concentrations of total PCBs (mean = 2.80E-02 {micro}g/g-ww) than downstream catfish (n = 10) (mean = 1.50E-02 {micro}g/g-ww). Similarly, upstream carp (n = 4) contained higher concentrations of total PCBs (mean = 7.98E-02 {micro}g/g-ww) than downstream carp (n = 4) (3.07E-02 {micro}g/g-ww); however, the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.42). The dominant PCB homologue in all fish samples was hexachlorobiphenyls. Total PCB concentrations in fish in 2002 are lower than 1997; however, differences in analytical methods and other uncertainties exist. A review of historical quantitative PCB data for fish from the Rio Grande and Abiquiu and Cochiti reservoirs does not indicate a distinct contribution of PCBs from LANL to fish in the Rio Grande or Cochiti. Analysis of homologue patterns for fish does not provide sufficient evidence of a LANL contribution. Nevertheless, concentrations of PCBs in fillets of fish sampled from the Rio Grande are indicative of potential adverse chronic health impact from consumption of these fish on a long-term basis.

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  • Report No.: LA-14362
  • Grant Number: DE-AC52-06NA25396
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 928421
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc897310

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  • May 12, 2008

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 6:49 p.m.

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Fresquez, Gilbert J. Gonzales Philip R. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in Catfish and Carp Collected from the Rio Grande Upstream and Downstream of Los Alamos National Laboratory: Revision 1, report, May 12, 2008; Los Alamos, New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc897310/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.