Dioxins, Wildlife, and the Forest Industry in British Columbia, Canada

Part of the Emerging Topics in Ecotoxicology book series (ETEP, volume 3)


The exposure and effects of wildlife to persistent pollutants from forest industry sources were studied over the period 1986–2008 in British Columbia, Canada. Elevated concentrations of specific polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin and furan (PCDD/PCDF) congeners were measured in a variety of aquatic and predatory birds and mustelid mammals, and related to sources including chlorine bleaching of wood pulp and use of chlorophenolic herbicides. Exposure was correlated to biochemical, physiological, and morphological variables in various species, and to reproductive success in great blue herons (Ardea herodias) and bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) at specific study sites impacted by pulp mill effluents. From the late 1980s into the early 1990s, changes to the bleaching process and regulatory restrictions on chlorophenol use produced significant reductions in ambient contamination and wildlife exposure to PCDD/Fs, as well as improvements in physiological responses. My experiences with both the science and the regulatory processes are described, along with a reassessment of the wildlife effects data and some consideration of the lessons that might be learned from this work.


Pulp Mill Forest Industry Chlorine Dioxide Bald Eagle River Otter 



I am indebted to the many people who contributed to this work, in particular, Phil Whitehead. I would also like to thank: D. Bennet, G. Bellward, A. Breault, R. Butler, K. Cheng, C. Coker, M. Harris, L. Hart, D. Janz, S, Lee, I. Moul, R. Norstrom, M. Simon, T. Sanderson, T. Sullivan, L Wilson, and H. Won. Useful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript were made by T. Augspurger, M. Gilbertson, and P. Ross. S. Lee assisted with drafting figures.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environment Canada, Science and Technology Branch, Pacific Wildlife Research CentreDeltaCanada

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