Studies of Contaminants in Arctic Marine Mammals

by Paul R. Becker, Natl Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93


Attention has been directed over the last few years to determining the baseline levels of anthropogenic contaminants in Arctic marine mammals. Because of their subsistence value to local human populations and their dominant roles in Arctic marine ecosystems, particular attention has been given to ringed seals, beluga whales, polar bears, narwhals, and walrus. Certain chlorinated pesticides appear to be of particular concern (e.g., chlordane and polychlorinated camphenes). Although the information is still limited, the geographic and temporal patterns of organochlorine concentrations in a few species of Arctic marine mammals are beginning to emerge. The reported high levels of certain heavy metals (e.g., cadmium and mercury) in some species appear to be highly variable and not easily explained.

Subject Headings: Pollutants | Ecosystems | Hazardous materials | Pesticides | Population projection | Cadmium | Mercury (chemical) | Pollution | Arctic

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