Open Lakes Trend Monitoring Program: PCBs
For further information on the Great Lakes Fish Monitoring and Surveillance Program, please contact:
Elizabeth Murphy (email@example.com)
EPA Great Lakes National Program Office
(312) 353-4227 or 1-800-621-8431 x34227
Access the Data
You can also contact the program manager, Elizabeth Murphy, for information regarding the GLFMSP and/or supporting data.
Peer reviewed journal articles published using GLFMSP data can also be found on the Reports & Links page.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) are chlorinated compounds that were used as coolants and lubricants in electrical equipment. The production of PCBs was banned in 1977 but the compounds are still present in the environment. Median PCB concentrations in Lake Trout in Lakes Superior, Huron, and Ontario and Walleye in Lake Erie continue to decline; however, they are still above the target of 0.1 µg/g ww in the 1987 GLWQA. Log-linear regression of Environment Canada data show the continued long-term annual declines of 5% in Lake Trout from Lake Superior and 7% in Lakes Huron and Ontario while PCBs in Lake Erie Walleye are declining by 3% per year. Similar analyses of U.S. EPA data show no significant annual declines of total PCB in Lake Trout from Lake Superior and 4%, 6%, 7%, and 4% annual declines in total PCB in Lake Trout from Lakes Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Lake Erie Walleye, respectively.
Recent studies have suggested that rates of decline of PCB residues in fish are slowing or have stopped in some lakes in recent years (Bhavsar et al. 2007; Carlson et al. 2010). Despite potential changes in annual rates of decline, first-order log-linear regression models are still a good fit to observed concentrations in the lakes through time. Results generated in the next few years of monitoring should clarify whether or not the rates of decline are slowing and statistical methods to assess trends will be altered as required.
GLFMSP PCB publications:
- Carlson, D.L., and Swackhamer, D.L, 2006. Results from the U.S. Great Lakes Fish Monitoring Program and Effects of Lake Processes on Contaminant Concentrations. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 32 (2): 370 – 385.
- Carlson, D.L., DeVault, D.S., and Swackhamer, D.L., 2010. On the rate of decline of persistent organic contaminants in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) from the Great Lakes, 1970-2003. Environmental Science and Technology. 44 (6): 2004-10.
- Chang, F., Pagano, J.J., Crimmins, B.S., Milligan, M.S., Xia, X., Hopke, P.K., Holsen, T.M., 2012. Temporal trends of polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides in Great Lakes fish, 1999–2009. Science and the Total Environment. 439: 284 - 290.
- De Vault, D. S., Willford, W.A., Hesselberg, R.J., Nortrupt, D.A., Rundberg, E.G.S., Alwan, A.K., and C. Bautista. 1986 Contaminant trends in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) from the upper Great Lakes. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 15:349-356
- De Vault, D. S., Hesselberg, R., Rodgers, P.W., Feist, T.J. 1996. Contaminant Trends in Lake Trout and Walleye from the Laurentian Great Lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 22(4):884-895.
- Hickey, J. P., S. A. Batterman, S. M. Chernyak. 2006. Trends of Chlorinated Organic Contaminants in Great Lakes Trout and Walleye from 1970 to 1998. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicology. 50: 97 - 110.
- Madenjian, C. P., DeSorcie, T. J., Stedman, R. M., Brown, E. H., Eck, G. W., Schmidt, J. L., Hesselberg, R. J., Chernyak, S. M., and Passino-Reader, D. R., 1999. Spatial Patterns in PCB Concentrations of Lake Michigan Lake Trout. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 25(1): 149 – 159.
- Streets, S. S., Henderson, S. A., Stone, A. D., Carlson, D. L., Simcik, M. F., and Swackhamer, D. L., 2006. Partitioning and Bioaccumulaiton of PBDEs and PCBs in Lake Michigan. Environmental Science and Technology. 40: 2763 – 7269.
- Bhavsar, S.P., D.A. Jackson, A. Hayton, E.J. Reiner, T. Chen, and J. Bodnar. 2007. Are PCB levels in fish from the Canadian Great Lakes still declining? J. Great Lakes Res. 33: 592-605.
- Carlson, D.L., D.S. De Vault, and D.L. Swackhamer. 2010. On the rate of decline of persistent organic contaminants in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) from the Great Lakes, 1970-2003. Environ. Sci. Technol. 44: 2004-2010.