Skip to content


Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

Effects of pesticides and related organic compounds in the sea

  • W. Ernst1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen33:301


The majority of organic chemicals identified so far in the sea are pesticides and products of technical use; most contain chlorine. Only a limited amount of the actual pollutant load is detectable because few data for “unconventional ” pollutants are available. In view of the considerable structural variety of the large number of chemicals produced, there is a need for prediction measurements of bioconcentration and toxic effects. Physico-chemical data may be used for predicting bioconcentration and life-cycle toxicity tests for the estimation of safe levels. The degree of biomagnification via food chains increases with half lives of the pollutants. When comparing pollutant concentrations with toxicological data it becomes apparent that estuaries and coastal areas deserve special concern, whereas pollutant levels of open ocean waters are unlikely to endanger marine life at present.