Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

No. 19: New New contaminants with relevans to the Greenland environment

Vorkamp, K. & Rigét, F.F. 2013. Nye kontaminanter med relevans for det grønlandske miljø. Aarhus Universitet, DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi, 112 s. - Teknisk rapport fra DCE - Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi nr. 19. http://www.dmu.dk/Pub/TR19.pdf



Relatively volatile and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) can be transported from emission sources to Arctic areas. Lipophilic compounds in particular enter the Arctic food chains and biomagnify, posing a risk of exposure to the Arctic inhabitants who rely on traditional food. For this reason, monitoring programmes have been established for POPs in selected species. Many POPs have been regulated globally today, for example through the Stockholm Convention.

The purpose of this study was to collect and review information on the occurrence of new compounds in the Arctic which are not covered by the current monitoring activities in Greenland, and to assess their relevance for further studies in Greenland, for example under the AMAP Core Programme. We used several different sources, primarily the scientific literature, national reports, reports by the Nordic Councils of Ministers, lists and conventions and publications by environmental authorities and expert groups. From this material, information was extracted on the detection of new compounds in Arctic animals, in abiotic Arctic media and in non-Arctic food chains, on the registration of these compounds on lists and in conventions and on production amounts and relevant physical-chemical characteristics. Furthermore, theoretical studies and model calculations about potential Arctic contaminants were included.

On the basis of these results, a first list was established of compounds possibly accumulating in Arctic animals, based on the presence of these compounds in the Arctic, their high priority in model calculations and classification on various lists. This list was comprised of 17 compounds including flame retardants, pesticides and other chemicals (phthalates, siloxanes, bis(4-chlorophenyl)sulfone and perfluoroethylcyclohexanesulfonate). Next, the literature was reviewed on bioaccumulation of new compounds in areas outside the Arctic, for example close to emission sources. This review resulted in a list of 12 compounds, supporting and extending the first list.

The literature also includes information the presence of compounds in the Arctic which possibly are emitted locally, for example with waste water or in combustion processes. Therefore, this issue is also described in our study, but without consequences for recommendation for the monitoring programme, which focuses on long-range transport and bioaccumulation.

Based on the two initial assessments, it was concluded that a final list of 11 compounds would be particularly relevant for further studies in Greenland. This list also considers the compounds currently monitored in air in Greenland and includes six flame retardants (DPTE, TBPH, TBB, BTBPE, DBDPE, Dechlorane plus), the pesticides endosulfan and chlordecone, the compound group short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCP) and the compounds bis(4-chlorophenyl)sulfone and octachlorostyrene. A previous study had shown the presence of endosulfan in Greenland biota. For this reason, a retrospective time trend was suggested for endosulfan. For the remaining compounds, a screening of existing samples was recommended, to study the presence of these compounds in Greenland biota.