Bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus; n = 5) blubber, liver, muscle, kidney, heart, diaphragm, tongue, and uncooked maktak (bowhead whale epidermis and blubber) were collected during subsistence hunts at Barrow, AK, USA (1997-1999) to measure concentrations of persistent organochlorine contaminants (OCs). The exposure of humans to OCs via bowhead whales and other biota [fish, ringed (Phoca hispida) and bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus), and beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas)] as part of a subsistence diet was evaluated. Concentrations of OCs in bowhead whale tissues were correlated with lipid content (P
The potential health effects of environmental contaminants in traditional food has become a concern among northern communities because of the presence of environmental contaminants in the Arctic ecosystem. Exposure assessments are needed but they require comprehensive dietary information and contaminant data. Over the last 10 years, there has been considerable effort to monitor the level of contaminants in fish and wildlife collected from different regions in northern and Arctic Canada. The development of a database and its application for dietary contaminant exposure assessment are described. We conducted an extensive literature review on levels of environmental contaminants in northern and Arctic Canada. The ranges of levels of four contaminants of major concern (chlordane, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls and toxaphene) in 81 species of marine mammals, terrestrial mammals, birds, fish and plants are summarized. These data represent 69% of the 117 species of fish, wildlife and plants mentioned in our dietary interviews conducted in the northern communities. A significant percentage of the foods had contaminant levels exceeding the guidelines used by Health Canada for market food consumed by the 'southern' populations. Mathematic modelling of the distributions of the data showed that contaminant levels in most food groups are log-normally distributed and have a typical coefficient of variation of about 100%. Examples are presented to demonstrate the use of the data for contaminant exposure assessment. Average contaminant exposure levels estimated using the database for two communities are comparable to those obtained previously using community specific data. With the current knowledge of environmental contaminant levels in the northern traditional food system, it may be feasible to conduct preliminary risk assessment of dietary exposure of environmental contaminants when some diet information for a community is available. Further sampling and analysis may be needed only for confirmation purposes.
We analysed adipose tissue concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in 21 cases with exocrine pancreatic cancer. The comparison group consisted of 59 subjects. Significantly increased concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), sum of chlordanes and polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) were found in the cases. For 1,1,-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-ethylene (p,p'-DDE) no significant difference was seen. For PCBs no odds ratio (OR) could be calculated since all cases had concentration>median in controls used as a cut-off. HCB yielded OR=53.0, 95% confidence interval (CI)=4.64-605 and sum of chlordanes OR=18.4, 95% CI=2.71-124 whereas OR was not significantly increased for p,p'-DDE or PBDEs. Body mass index (BMI) at the time of tissue sampling was significantly lower for the cases. This might have influenced the results. Using BMI one year previously or decreasing the concentrations of POPs with the same percentage as weight loss among the cases did not change the results. Survival of the cases was shorter in the group with the concentration of POPs>median among cases, significantly so for the sum of PCBs (147 vs. 294 days), p,p'-DDE (134 vs. 302 days), and sum of chlordanes (142 vs. 294 days) in the high and low group, respectively. The results were based on a low number of cases and should be interpreted with caution.
Adipose tissues from 20 arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) of both sexes from Svalbard were analysed for polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), p,p'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDE), chlordane, and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) concentrations. Gender (0.43
Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment (CINE) and School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, Macdonald Campus of McGill University, Sainte Anne de Bellevue, Quebec H9X3V9, Canada. Kuhnlein@macdonald.mcgill.ca
Traditional food resources of indigenous peoples are now recognized as containing a variety of environmental contaminants which reach food species through local or long-range transport avenues. In this chapter we review the published reports of contaminants contained in traditional food in northern North America and Europe as organochlorines, heavy metals, and radionuclides. Usually, multiple contaminants are contained in the same food species. Measurement of dietary exposure to these environmental contaminants is reviewed, as are major issues of risk assessment, evaluation, and management. The dilemma faced by indigenous peoples in weighing the multiple nutritional and socioeconomic benefits of traditional food use against risk of contaminants in culturally important food resources is described.
Organochlorines and heavy metals have bioaccumulated in Arctic wildlife, which is an important food source for the Inuit. In this study, we have developed a statistical model to describe the population distribution of contaminant exposure and the usual intake of the high-end contaminant consumers. Monte Carlo methods are used to account for variations due to seasonal dietary pattern and contaminant concentrations. Distribution of the dietary intake of the contaminants of most concern-mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlordane, and toxaphenes-are described. Over 50% of the residents had dietary exposure levels exceeding the tolerable daily intake or provisional tolerable daily intake for Hg, toxaphene, and chlordane (83, 91, and 71% for men and 73, 85, and 56% for women, respectively). The high-end consumers (i.e. the 95th centile) have intake levels 6 times higher than the provisional tolerable weekly intake of Hg, and over 20 times the tolerable daily intake of chlordane and toxaphene. Assessment of health risks of the relative high contaminant exposure in this community must also consider the nutritional, economical, cultural, and social importance of these traditional foods. A comprehensive risk management scheme has yet to be developed.
Ecotoxicology and Wildlife Health Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, National Wildlife Research Centre, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada; Department of Chemistry, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada. Electronic address: email@example.com.
A large and complex suite of 295 legacy and new halogenated persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were investigated in fat or liver tissue samples of polar bears collected in 2013-2014 from Southern (SHB) and Western (WHB) subpopulations of the Canadian Arctic contaminants hotspot of Hudson Bay. A total of 210 POPs were detected and/or quantifiable with some frequency in all fat or liver samples. POP profile and concentration differences were investigated both within (e.g. age and sex) and between the two subpopulations. Two time-point comparisons were made relative to POPs reported for Hudson Bay polar bears harvested in 2007-2008. SPolychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations at both time points were the most concentrated of the POP groups, and were spatially uniform with no detectable influence of sex or age, as were concentrations of the dominant congener CB153. SChlordanes (SCHLs, 74-79% oxychlordane) and the Sperfluoroalkyl substances (SPFASs, ˜60% perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)) had the second greatest POP group concentrations in SHB and WHB respectively, with SPFASs and SCHLs being significantly influenced by age and/or sex. SCHLs were spatially uniform but SPFASs were greater in the SHB bears, as were e.g. some flame retardants, due to e.g. local contamination and/or changes in bear behavior and diet. Endosulfans and hexabromocyclododecane were detectable in samples from 2007-2008 but not from 2013-2014, which is consistent with their global POP regulations. SPolychlorinated naphthalenes (SPCNs) were consistently detected at relatively high concentrations compared to other arctic wildlife, however these concentrations were low relative to legacy POPs. SShort-chain chlorinated paraffins (SSCCPs) were major contributors to the overall POPs burden with concentrations comparable to other legacy POPs, though there was no significant difference between or within subpopulations for PCNs or SCCPs. Except for octachlorostyrene, POPs concentrations were generally lower in female and male bears from SHB in 2013-2014 relative to 2007-2008, however those of WHB males were greater over the same timeframe for almost all POPs.
Organochlorine (OC) levels in liver and blubber of 20 bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) collected during the Eskimo subsistence harvest at Barrow (Alaska, USA) in 1992 and 1993 are presented. Liver sum DDT (lipid weight) was significantly greater in male whales than in females. Most of the organochlorines measured were at higher levels in longer (older) than in shorter (younger) males. For female bowhead whales, hexachlorobenzene and lipid levels decreased and other OC levels did not change significantly with increasing length. Most organochlorine contaminants have low concentrations in tissues of the bowhead whale compared to concentrations in tissues of other cetaceans, especially Odontocetes. Based on allowable daily intakes (ADI) levels established by the Canadian Northern Contaminants Program (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) "safe" levels of blubber to consume were calculated. Chlordane levels in bowhead whale blubber results in the most restrictive consumption amount (50 g blubber/day). We expect no adverse effects related to these organochlorine contaminants to occur in bowhead whales or in consumers of their tissues. However, investigation of low level chronic exposure effects and a more rigorous assessment of histopathology, biomarkers, and immune status in the bowhead whale would be required to conclude "no effect" with more certainty.
Levels of organochlorines (PCBs, sigma DDT, lindane and its isomers, HCB, chlordane, and toxaphene) were determined in blubber of marine mammals from the northern hemisphere. Differences in both levels and ratios of organochlorine compounds were detected in different species of marine mammals living in the same region, e.g. blubber of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) accumulated significantly lower levels of lindane, HCB, toxaphene, and DDT and its metabolites than harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). Compared to such elementary differences in the organochlorine pattern in different marine mammals, the influence of age and sex on the results was only minimal. Varying ratios of contaminants in individual harbour porpoises were explained by migration. Constant PCB/DDT ratios were measured in harbour seals. Due to the sedentariness of harbour seals, even local sources of contaminants could be recognized. Careful evaluation of the organochlorine levels and ratios in marine mammals made it possible to monitor the transport of PCBs from the European continent to European Arctic regions.
Concentration and enantiomeric fractions (EFs) of chiral chlorinated pesticides (a-hexachlorocyclohexane (a-HCH), trans-, cis- and oxychlordane) were determined in Arctic zooplankton, mainly Calanus spp. collected in the period 2007-11 from Svalbard fjords and open pack-ice. The temporal and spatial enantiomer distribution varied considerably for all species and chiral pesticides investigated. An overall enantiomeric excess of (+)-oxychlordane (EF 0.53-0.86) were observed. Cis-chlordane was close to racemic (EF 0.46-0.55), while EF for trans-chlordane varied between 0.29 and 0.55, and between 0.38 and 0.59 for a-HCH. The biodegradation potential for trans-chlordane was higher compared to cis-chlordane. The comprehensive statistical evaluation of the data set revealed that the EF distribution of a-HCH was affected by ice cover to a higher extent compared to cis-chlordane. Potential impact from benthic processes on EFs in zooplankton is an interesting feature and should be further investigated. Enantiomeric selective analyses may be a suitable tool for investigations of climate change related influences on Arctic ecosystems.