Swallows as indicators of environmental pollution of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Basin: are persistent organic pollutants a concern? Academic Article uri icon


  • Swallows from two locations in the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Basin and one reference site located 500 km away were analyzed for organochlorine pesticides (OCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Of the OC pesticides, only p,p'-DDE was observed at levels of concern (carcass geometric mean range 642 to 8511 ng/g wet weight [ww]). DDE residues in carcass were significantly greater at El Paso than at other locations. PCBs were relatively low compared with locations in the northeastern United States and the Great Lakes. Geometric mean PBDE concentrations ranged from 18 to 258 ng/g ww (280 to 3395 ng/g lipid weight). PBDE congeners 47 and 99 comprised approximately 60% of total PBDEs. Concentrations of DDE measured in swallows from El Paso in 2000 and 2005 are among the highest observed in the last 20 years along the United States-Mexico border. The results from this study indicated that swallows are still being exposed to high concentrations of DDE, which could have adverse effects on reproduction or on predators that feed on swallows.

published proceedings

  • Arch Environ Contam Toxicol

author list (cited authors)

  • Mora, M. A., Sericano, J. L., & Baxter, C.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Mora, MA||Sericano, JL||Baxter, C

publication date

  • April 2012