Persistent organic pollutants in the Arctic
NILU has significantly contributed to the realisation of the newly published AMAP Assessment 2002: “Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Arctic”. Two major highlights demonstrated NILUs contribution to the report, which can be ordered directly from the AMAP secretariat (www.amap.no).
POPs in Bjørnøya
Studies of air and fog water measurements at Bjørnøya in 1994 identified very high levels of PCBs in Arctic char and sediments. The samples were taken from the lake Ellasjøen on Bjørnøya (Bear Island, 74°N, 19°E), situated about 500 km southwest of Svalbard. The results prompted a comprehensive research study, which was started in 1999.
Trends in Arctic hexachlorocyclohexanse (alpha-HCH and gamma-HCH) levels
A critical component of the assessment of POPs in the Arctic is the knowledge of temporal trends of these chemicals in the abiotic and biotic environment. The relationship between contaminant input into the Arctic and the levels and effects seen in wildlife and humans is ultimately tied to the use and restriction of these chemicals and any remedial action that is taken.
Gamma-HCH concentrations represents about 15-20% of the total alpha- and gamma-HCH burden. The general decrease in concentrations are not so evident as for alfa-HCH. At Ny Ålesund the levels in 1998-2000 were about half of that measured in 1993-94 (see figure below).
The complete report can be downloaded from the AMAP home page (www.amap.no) or directly ordered from the AMAP secretariat in Oslo.