Document Detail

Arctic marine ecosystem contamination.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  1514106     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The current state of knowledge of levels, spatial and temporal trends of contaminants in the Arctic marine ecosystem varies greatly among pollutants and among environmental compartments. Levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine (OC) pesticides and some heavy metals such as mercury and lead, in Arctic marine mammals and fish are relatively well documented because of the need for comparisons with biota in more polluted environments and interest in the contamination of native diets. Levels of heavy metals, alkanes, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and OCs in the Arctic Ocean are comparable to uncontaminated ocean waters in the mid-latitudes. But concentrations of alpha- and gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCHs) are higher in northern waters far removed from local sources, possibly because lower water temperature reduces transfer to the atmosphere. Bioaccumulation of OCs and heavy metals in Arctic marine food chains begins with epontic ice algae or phytoplankton in surface waters. Polychlorinated camphenes (PCC), PCBs, DDT- and chlordane-related compounds are the major OCs in marine fish, mammals and seabirds. Mean concentrations of most PCBs and OC pesticides in ringed seal (Phoca hispida) and polar bear (Ursus maritimus) populations in the Canadian Arctic are quite similar indicating a uniform geographic distribution of contamination, although alpha-HCH showed a distinct latitudinal gradient in bears due to higher levels in zones influenced by continental runoff. Ringed seals from Spitzbergen have higher levels of PCBs, total DDT and polychlorinated dioxins/furans (PCDD/PCDFs). In contrast to other OCs, PCDD/PCDFs in Canadian Arctic ringed seals and polar bears were higher in the east/central Arctic than at more southerly locations. Remarkably high cadmium levels are found in kidney and liver of narwhal (Monodons monoceros) from western Baffin Bay (mean of 63.5 micrograms g-1) and western Greenland waters (median of 39.5 micrograms g-1). Mercury concentrations in muscle of ringed seal and cetaceans frequently exceed 0.5 microgram g-1 especially in older animals. Cadmium concentrations in polar bear liver increased from west to east, while mercury levels were higher in ringed seals from the western Canadian Arctic, which suggests that natural sources of these metals predominate. Studies of temporal trends in OCs in ringed seals and seabirds in the Canadian Arctic indicate PCB and DDT levels declined significantly from the early 1970s to the 1980s. There is a lack of temporal trend data for other OC pesticides as well as for heavy metals and hydrocarbons.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
D C Muir; R Wagemann; B T Hargrave; D J Thomas; D B Peakall; R J Norstrom
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Science of the total environment     Volume:  122     ISSN:  0048-9697     ISO Abbreviation:  Sci. Total Environ.     Publication Date:  1992 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1992-09-28     Completed Date:  1992-09-28     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0330500     Medline TA:  Sci Total Environ     Country:  NETHERLANDS    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  75-134     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Central and Arctic Region, Winnipeg, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Arctic Regions
Birds / metabolism
Fishes / metabolism
Hydrocarbons / analysis*,  pharmacokinetics
Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / analysis*,  pharmacokinetics
Ice / analysis
Invertebrates / metabolism
Mammals / metabolism
Metals / analysis*,  pharmacokinetics
Oceans and Seas
Seawater / chemistry
Water Pollutants* / analysis,  pharmacokinetics
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Hydrocarbons; 0/Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated; 0/Ice; 0/Metals; 0/Water Pollutants

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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