Bone mineral density (mg cm−3) was studied in male Baltic grey seals (4–23 years of age) by noninvasive computed tomography (pQCT). The material was grouped according to year of collection. Group A: 1850–1955, a period before the main introduction of organochlorines (OCs); Group B: 1965–1985, a period with very high OC contamination; and Group C: 1986–1997, a period with decreasing concentrations of OCs. The reproducibility of the measurements was good with a Coefficient of Variation (CV) ranging from 0.1% to 2.1%. Trabecular bone mineral density of the radius was significantly higher in specimens collected 1986–1997 than in those collected 1965–1985 (p < 0.05). Cortical bone mineral density of the mandible was significantly lower in specimens collected 1986–1997 compared with those collected 1850–1955 (p < 0.05). These results indicate different responses over time in trabecular and cortical bone. During the period of very high OC contamination (1965–1985), trabecular bone density was lowest, whereas cortical bone density was lowest in specimens collected 1985–1997, representing a period of fairly low OC contamination. The mechanisms behind these effects are not known. However, it can be assumed that OCs are involved. Information about residue levels of OCs in the studied individuals is lacking and, therefore, it was not possible to evaluate the impact of OCs in this respect.
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Vol. 32 • No. 6