Temporal and spatial trends of PCBs, DDTs, HCHs, and HCB in Swedish marine biota 1969–2012.
In the 1960s, the Baltic Sea was severely polluted by organic contaminants such as PCBs, HCHs, HCB, and DDTs. Elevated concentrations caused severe adverse effects in Baltic biota. Since then, these substances have been monitored temporally and spatially in Baltic biota, primarily in herring (Clupea harengus) and in guillemot (Uria aalge) egg, but also in cod (Gadus morhua), perch (Perca fluviatilis), eelpout (Zoarces viviparous), and blue mussel (Mytilus edulis). These chemicals were banned in Sweden in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Since the start of monitoring, overall significant decreases of about 70–90 % have been observed. However, concentrations are still higher in the Baltic Sea than in, for example, the North Sea. CB-118 and DDE exceed the suggested target concentrations (24 µg kg−1 lipid weight and 5 µg kg−1 wet weight, respectively) at certain sites in some of the monitored species, showing that concentrations may still be too high to protect the most sensitive organisms.