Keywords: Arctic, global warming, atmospheric transport, global distillation, organochlorines, contamination, PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, pesticides, environmental pollution, public health, emissions
Organochlorine contamination of the Canadian Arctic, and speculation on future trends
Emission of organochlorine chemicals in urban, agricultural and industrial regions of the world has resulted in a substantial influx to the Canadian Arctic. Long-range atmospheric transport and what has been referred to as 'global distillation' transport many chemicals from warm source areas to cold, polar regions. Organochlorines are detected in Arctic air, water, and snow, with substantial accumulations in animals, marine mammals, and humans. This has led to concern regarding health effects to native people who consume traditional foods. Speculations on future trends of organochlorines in the Arctic is presented and related to global warming effects and the physical chemistry of the compounds of interest. It is conceivable that high levels of certain contaminants in the Arctic environment may persist for decades despite recent reductions in global emissions.