The potential exists for human exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other contaminants originating from abandoned Mid-Canada Radar Line (MCRL) sites in sub-arctic Canada. We examined patterns of differences with respect to body burden of organochlorines (lipid-adjusted) between residents of the Ontario First Nations of Fort Albany (the site of MCRL Site 050) and Kashechewan (no radar base) and Hamilton (an industrial, southern Ontario community) to assess whether the presence of Site 050 influenced organochlorine body burden with respect to the people of Fort Albany. PCBs (Aroclor 1260 and summation operator14 PCBs congeners [CBs]) and DDE in the plasma of Fort Albany and Kashechewan subjects were elevated relative to Hamilton participants. PCB and DDE-plasma levels in First Nation women were of comparable magnitude to those reported for Inuit women living in the west/central Northwest Territories. Significantly lower DDE/DDT ratios observed for Fort Albany indicates exposure to higher levels of DDT compared to Kashechewan. The probable source of DDT exposure for Fort Albany people is the DDT-contaminated soil surrounding buildings of Site 050. The results of the correspondence analysis (CA) indicated that people from Hamilton had relatively higher pesticides and lower CB body burdens, while people from Fort Albany and Kashechewan exhibited relatively higher CBs and lower pesticide levels (CA-1). The separation of Fort Albany and Kashechewan from Hamilton was also clear using questionnaire data (i.e., plotting dietary principal component [PC]-1 scores against PC-2); PC-1 was correlated with the consumption of a traditional diet. Separation of Kashechewan and Albany residents occurred because the people of Kashechewan ate more traditional meats and consumed shorebirds. Only one significant relationship was found between PC analysis and contaminant loadings; PC-1 versus CA-3 for Kashechewan. The presence of Site 050 on Anderson Island appears to have influenced organochlorine body burden of the people of Fort Albany. ANCOVA results revealed that it was not activity on Anderson Island that was important, but activity on Site 050 was the influential variable. When these results are considered with the DDE/DDT ratio data and the CB 187 results (Fort Albany and Kashechewan residents differed significantly), the findings are suggestive that Site 050 did influence organochlorine body burden of people from Fort Albany.
OBJECTIVE: Exposure to environmental organochlorines has been examined as a potential risk factor for human breast cancer with mixed results. Our purpose was to examine associations between organochlorines and the development of breast cancer in a large prospective study using stored adipose tissue. METHODS: We conducted a nested case-control study of 409 postmenopausal women who developed breast cancer and 409 controls selected from the 29,875 women enrolled in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health cohort between 1993 and 1997. We measured concentrations of 14 pesticides and 18 polychlorinated biphenyls in adipose tissue, collected upon enrollment, and estimated relative risk (RR) of breast cancer using conditional logistic regression. RESULTS: The results showed no higher risk of breast cancer among women with higher levels of any pesticides or polychlorinated biphenyls; the RR associated with the upper quartile of 1,1-dichloro-2, 2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene concentration was 0.7 [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.5-1.2] contrasting the lower quartile, and for the sum of polychlorinated biphenyls the similar risk was 1.1 (95% CI, 0.7-1.7). We observed a pattern of substantially lower risk of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer in association with higher levels of most of the pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls; the RR for the higher quartile of 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene was 0.1 (95% CI, 0.0-0.5) and for the sum of polychlorinated biphenyls it was 0.3 (95% CI, 0.1-0.9). CONCLUSION: The results do not support that higher organochlorine body levels increase the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. The interpretation of the inverse association for estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer is currently unclear.
We studied the relationship between increasing age and blood concentrations of four persistent organochlorines (OCs), hexachlorbenzene (HCB), oxychlordane, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), and 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorbiphenyl (PCB-153), in arctic-breeding glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus). We measured OC concentrations in 31 individuals of known age and took repeated blood samples of 64 individuals in different years, either one year apart or three or four years apart. The age of individuals was not related to the blood concentrations for any of the four compounds, and in birds whose values were measured repeatedly, there was no effect of the length of time (number of years) between sampling events on the relative change in OC concentration. This indicates that steady-state levels were reached before the age of first breeding. However, breeding area significantly influenced the changes in OC concentration between sampling events. In areas in which birds fed on prey from higher trophic levels, the OC concentrations showed large increases between sampling events; in areas in which birds fed at lower trophic levels, OC concentrations increased relatively little or not at all. This indicates that individual birds had different equilibrium concentrations, which are reached at different ages depending on the intake of OCs through the food. It also indicates that some individuals had not reached steady-state concentrations at the onset of reproduction. Changes in body condition and amount of blood lipids were of lesser importance than trophic level and influenced the concentrations of HCB and oxychlordane more strongly than DDE and PCB-153. In conclusion, this study indicates that steady-state concentrations of persistent OCs are reached early in life in most glaucous gulls, considering the long life span of the species.
The majority of analytical results in the Greenland AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme) have been produced by laboratories that participate regularly in performance studies. This makes it possible to judge the quality of the results based on objective measurements made by independent assessors. AMAP laboratories participated while analysing the AMAP samples in the QUASIMEME laboratory performance study programme, in the 'Interlaboratory Comparison Program' organised by Le Centre de Toxicologie du Québec, in a toxaphene intercomparison study organised by The Food Research Division of Health Canada, and in an International Atomic Energy Agency Intercomparison exercise. The relative errors of the trace analyses, i.e. the relative deviation of the result obtained by the AMAP laboratory from the assigned value, are in most cases less than the 25% which is regarded as acceptable by QUASIMEME. Usually the errors, especially for trace elements, are less than 12.5%, while errors for trace organics below 1 microgram kg-1 may rise to 50% or more. This study covers the period 1993 to 1998 for trace elements and one or more years from the period 1994-1996 for trace organics.
Anthropogenic contaminants have been a concern in the Canadian arctic for over 30 years due to relatively high concentrations of bioaccumulating and biomagnifying organochlorine contaminants (OCs) and toxic metals found in some arctic biota and humans. However, few studies have addressed the potential effects of these contaminants in Canadian arctic wildlife. Prior to 1997, biological effects data were minimal and insufficient at any level of biological organization. The present review summarizes recent studies on biological effects related to contaminant exposure, and compares new tissue concentration data to threshold effects levels. Weak relationships between cadmium, mercury and selenium burdens and health biomarkers in common eider ducks (Somateria mollissima borealis) in Nunavut were found but it was concluded that metals were not influencing the health of these birds. Black guillemots (Cepphus grylle) examined near PCB-contaminated Saglek Bay, Labrador, had enlarged livers, elevated EROD and liver lipid levels and reduced retinol (vitamin A) and retinyl palmitate levels, which correlated to PCB levels in the birds. Circulating levels of thyroid hormones in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were correlated to PCB and HO-PCB plasma concentrations, but the impact at the population level is unknown. High PCB and organochlorine pesticide concentrations were found to be strongly associated with impaired humoral and cell-mediated immune responses in polar bears, implying an increased infection risk that could impact the population. In beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), cytochromes P450 (phase I) and conjugating (phase II) enzymes have been extensively profiled (immunochemically and catalytically) in liver, demonstrating the importance of contaminants in relation to enzyme induction, metabolism and potential contaminant bioactivation and fate. Concentrations of OCs and metals in arctic terrestrial wildlife, fish and seabirds are generally below effects thresholds, with the possible exception of PCBs in burbot (Lota lota) in some Yukon lakes, Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus), glaucous and great black-backed gulls (Larus hyperboreus and L. marinus), and TEQs of dioxin-like chemicals in seabird eggs. PCB and DDT concentrations in several arctic marine mammal species exceed effects thresholds, although evidence of stress in these populations is lacking. There is little evidence that contaminants are having widespread effects on the health of Canadian arctic organisms, with the possible exception of polar bears. However, further research and better understanding of organohalogen exposure in arctic biota is needed considering factors such as tissue levels that exceed effects thresholds, exposure to "new" organohalogen contaminants of concern, contaminated regions, and climate change.
This study examined the association between self-reported diabetes, fish consumption and serum levels of organochlorines in a First Nation community. One quarter of the 101 participants reported diabetes. Serum PCBs, but not p,p'-DDE, were positively correlated to consumption frequency of total fish, walleye and pike, but not trout. Reported diabetes was positively associated to p,p'-DDE and some PCB congeners. Odds Ratios (OR) for reported diabetes for those in the upper 75th percentile for serum p,p'-DDE compared to the others were 3.5 (95% CI 1-13.8) and 6.1 (95% CI 1.4-27.3) (weight wet and lipid-standardized values, respectively) and for total sum of PCBs: 4.91 (95% CI 1.4-19.0) and 5.51 (95% CI 1.3-24.1). For participants who were in the upper 50th percentile for trout and white fish intake, reported diabetes was respectively 6 and 4 times lower compared to the others. These findings support the hypothesis that environmental exposure to elevated p,p'-DDE and PCBs is associated with increased risk of diabetes. Consumption of trout and white fish may be beneficial to reduce risk.
Recent studies have shown that the detrimental effects of anthropogenic pollutants may be worse if organisms are exposed to natural stress. In this study, we examined whether negative effects of organochlorines (OCs) could be influenced by parasites. In two breeding seasons, we administered an anti-helminthic drug to groups of breeding glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus), whereas control groups were placebo treated. In all birds, blood residues of the most important OCs in the study population (hexachlorobenzene, oxychlordane, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene and polychlorinated biphenyl), were measured. The relationships between OCs and fitness components (i.e. nesting success and return rate between breeding seasons) were then compared between the birds receiving anti-parasite treatment and the controls. Among untreated males, higher blood residues of OCs were associated with lowered nesting success, while in males receiving anti-parasite treatment, there was no detrimental effect of OCs on fitness. Return rate was not affected by treatment or OCs. Our findings suggest that parasites may be an important factor in triggering reproductive effects of such pollutants, and that relatively low levels of OCs may have serious reproductive consequences in natural populations when stress from other sources is high.
Persistent contaminants such as heavy metals and organochlorine compounds are transported from distant sources to the Arctic by oceanic and atmospheric currents. Natives inhabiting the Arctic can be exposed, because they exist at the highest trophic level of the arctic aquatic food chain, along which biomagnification of contaminants occurs. We reviewed the data available on heavy metal and organochlorine body burden in natives from different regions of Nunavik (northern Québec) and assessed the potential risk of health effects. In addition, we investigated the relationship between each contaminant plasma level and omega-3 fatty acid content of plasma phospholipid, a surrogate measure for aquatic food consumption. Cadmium exposure appears to be unrelated to the consumption of species from the aquatic food chain (r = 0.0004; P = 0.99), whereas PCBs and mercury were (r = 0.49 and 0.52, respectively; P
Limited data have been collected on the presence of contaminants in the Arctic terrestrial ecosystem, with the exception of radioactive fallout from atmospheric weapons testing. Although southern and temperate biological systems have largely cleansed themselves of radioactive fallout deposited during the 1950s and 1960s, Arctic environments have not. Lichens accumulate radioactivity more than many other plants because of their large surface area and long life span; the presence and persistence of radioisotopes in the Arctic is of concern because of the lichen----reindeer----human ecosystem. Effective biological half-life of cesium 137 is reckoned to be substantially less than its physical half-life. The database on organochlorines in Canadian Arctic terrestrial mammals and birds is very limited, but indications are that the air/plant/animal contaminant pathway is the major route of these compounds into the terrestrial food chain. For terrestrial herbivores, the most abundant organochlorine is usually hexachlorobenzene followed by hexachlorocyclohexane isomers. PCB accumulation favours the hexachlorobiphenyl, pentachlorobiphenyl and heptachlorobiphenyl homologous series. The concentrations of the various classes of organochlorine compounds are substantially lower in terrestrial herbivore tissues than in marine mammal tissues. PCBs and DDT are the most abundant residues in peregrine falcons (a terrestrial carnivore) reaching average levels of 9.2 and 10.4 micrograms.g-1, respectively, more than 10 times higher than other organochlorines and higher than in marine mammals, including the polar bear. Contaminants from local sources include metals from mining activities, hydrocarbons and waste drilling fluids from oil and gas exploration and production, wastes from DEW line sites, naturally occurring radionuclides associated with uranium mineralization, and smoke containing SO2 and H2SO4 aerosol from the Smoking Hills at Cape Bathurst, N.W.T.
Background exposure to organochlorine (OC) pesticides was recently linked to cognitive impairment and dementia in cross-sectional and case-control studies. This prospective study was performed to evaluate if OC pesticides at baseline are associated with the future risk of cognitive impairment in elderly, with particular focus on weight change.
Plasma concentrations of 3 OC pesticides (p,p'-DDE, trans-nonachlor, and hexachlorobenzene) were measured among 989 men and women aged 70years in the Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS). Cognitive impairment was validated by reviewing medical records. During the ten year follow-up, cognitive impairment was developed in 75 subjects. When weight change from age 70 to 75 was considered in analyses, elderly with incident cases before age 75 were excluded to keep the prospective perspective, leaving 795 study subjects and 44 incident cases.
The summary measure of 3 OC pesticides predicted the development of cognitive impairment after adjusting for covariates, including weight change. Compared to subjects with OC pesticides