Review on Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Environment of Greenland and Faroe Islands

Arvid Fromberg, M. Cleemann, L. Carlsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The literature concerning persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the environment of Greenland and the Faroe Islands covering the period up to 1995 has been revisited. It is difficult to compare data from earlier studies with those from more recent investigations. Thus as the former quantified the content of CBs by comparison to a technical mixture of CBs (e.g. Aroclor 1254), the latter analyses typically are quantified on a single congener level. Single CB congeners have in some cases been determined, but the results were subsequently expressed as total PCB related to an Aroclor standard.

For studies based on single CB congener determinations, the highest levels are reported for porpoise blubber From Greenland (700 - 4500 mu g/kg wet weight), the conclusion, however being based on two determinations only. In Greenlandic seal blubber and peregrine falcon plasma equal levels of CBs (130 - 750 mu g/kg ww) and of DDTs (150 - 860 mu g/kg ww) were found. Levels of CBs and DDTs in fish liver were found to be around 40 - 75 mu g/kg ww. In sediment samples the CBs were almost all below the detection limit (<0.02 - 0.1 mu g/kg dry weight), and thereby being the matrix with the lowest CBs concentration levels.

Earlier data based on Aroclor standards showed DDT levels in Greenlandic whale blubber in the range of 2700 - 4100 mu g/kg ww and PCB levels of 3700 mu g/kg - 5400 mu g/kg ww. DDT levels for seal blubber were at the same level (2700 - 4500 mu g/kg ww) whereas the PCB level was lower (900 - 3900 mu g/kg ww). The PCB level corresponds to the level found in human adipose tissue determined with a similar quantification technique. The lowest levels reported for mammals correspond to walrus blubber, the sum of PCBs and DDTs being in the ranges of 180 - 360 mu g/kg ww and 50 - 90 mu g/kg ww, respectively. The content of PCBs in scallops was found to be 3 mu g/kg ww near the Thule Air base. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number13
Pages (from-to)3075-3093
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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