Comparison of contaminants from different trophic levels and ecosystems

R. Dietz, F. Riget, M. Cleemann, A. Aarkrog, P. Johansen, J.C. Hansen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch


    The present paper provides an overview of the priority contaminants and media from the Greenland part of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program. Levels and accumulation patterns of heavy metals, POPs and a radionuclide (Cs-137) are compared from the terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. Of the nine compounds presented, seven (Cd, Hg, Se, Sigma PCB, Sigma DDT, Sigma HCH, HCB) increased in concentration towards higher trophic levels. For these contaminants the concentrations in soil and aquatic sediment were in the same order of magnitude, whereas the concentrations in marine biota were higher than found in the freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems probably due to the presence of longer food chains. Pb and Cs-137 showed the reverse pattern compared with the other compounds. The concentrations in soil and aquatic sediments decreased in the order terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, which was reflected in the biota as well. Reindeer had similar or lower levels of Pb and Cs-137 than lichens. Levels of Ph and Cs-137 in marine biota did not show the same clear increase towards higher trophic as found for the other analysed compounds. Greenland Inuit contains considerably less mercury but higher levels of Sigma PCB, Sigma DDT and HCB than other Arctic marine top consumers. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Issue number1-3
    Pages (from-to)221-231
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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