The concentrations of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs =p,p'DDT, p,p'DDD, p,p'DDE, alpha-HCH and gamma-HCH) were measured in the sediments, water and burbot (whole liver and liver lipids) of eight Russian Arctic rivers near their outflows to the Arctic Ocean between 1988 and 1994. DDT was not detected in any river sediments above the limit of quantification (LOQ) of 2.5 ng g(-1) dry wt. Concentrations of DDD and DDE were only found in three of the river sediments above the LOQ of 0.75 ng g(-1) dry wt. DDT and DDE were present in only North Dvina and Pechora river water above the LOQ of 5 ng l(-1), while DDD was not found in any river above this limit. Both alpha- and gamma-HCH were found in all river sediments except for the Kolyma River at concentrations up to 2.4 and 3.5 ng g(-1) dry wt., respectively. In river water, alpha-HCH was as high as 8.6 ng l(-1) in the Ob River and gamma-HCH as high as 7.6 ng l(-1) in the Pechora River. The concentration of both sigmaDDT and sigmaHCH decreased to LOQ levels by about 1992 in both water and sediments. sigmaDDT (up to 70 ng g(-1) wet wt.) and sigmaHCH (maximum 18 ng g(-1) wet wt.) in burbot livers followed a similar temporal trend as in water and sediments. There is a scarcity of OCP data for Russia, but from what is available, we conclude that: (1) contamination of Russian rivers and burbot by OCPs is less severe in the Arctic than at lower latitudes; (2) contamination of Russian Arctic burbot is comparable to, or lower than, similar OCP contamination measured in burbot and other fish in other countries; and (3) the OCP concentrations in Russian burbot pose a negligible health risk to either humans or wildlife.