Assessing the effects of contaminants in the Arctic
Mercury pollution represents a threat to Arctic wildlife and human populations.
Mercury is a global environmental contaminant with both natural sources and sources associated with human activities; much of the mercury contaminating the Arctic is a result of transport by air and ocean pathways from sources outside of the Arctic.
Mercury is bioaccumulated and biomagnified in Arctic food chains. This can result in high levels of mercury in top predators such as polar bears and toothed whales. Humans, especially some indigenous populations that rely on marine mammals as part of their traditional diet, can receive high dietary exposure, raising concerns about possible effects on human health.
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POPs are chemicals that are characterized by their properties of persistence (which gives potential for long-range transport), bioaccumulation and toxicity.
Climate change will affect contamination of the Arctic by hazardous chemicals in various ways. AMAP is producing an assessment of the implications of climate change for Arctic contamination by POPs during 2019/2020.