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State of knowledge on current exposure, fate and potential health effects of contaminants in polar bears from the circumpolar Arctic

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisReviewForskningpeer review

  • Heli Routti, Norsk Polarinstitutt
  • ,
  • Todd C. Atwood, US Geol Survey, United States Geological Survey
  • ,
  • Thea Bechshoft
  • ,
  • Andrei Boltunov, Marine Mammal Research and Expedition Center
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  • Tomasz M. Ciesielski, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • ,
  • Jean Pierre Desforges
  • ,
  • Rune Dietz
  • Geir W. Gabrielsen, Norsk Polarinstitutt
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  • Bjørn M. Jenssen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, The University Centre on Svalbard
  • ,
  • Robert J. Letcher, Carleton University
  • ,
  • Melissa A. McKinney, McGill University
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  • Adam D. Morris, Carleton University
  • ,
  • Frank F. Rigét
  • Christian Sonne
  • Bjarne Styrishave, Københavns Universitet
  • ,
  • Sabrina Tartu, Norsk Polarinstitutt

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is among the Arctic species exposed to the highest concentrations of long-range transported bioaccumulative contaminants, such as halogenated organic compounds and mercury. Contaminant exposure is considered to be one of the largest threats to polar bears after the loss of their Arctic sea ice habitat due to climate change. The aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive summary of current exposure, fate, and potential health effects of contaminants in polar bears from the circumpolar Arctic required by the Circumpolar Action Plan for polar bear conservation. Overall results suggest that legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs) including polychlorinated biphenyls, chlordanes and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), followed by other perfluoroalkyl compounds (e.g. carboxylic acids, PFCAs) and brominated flame retardants, are still the main compounds in polar bears. Concentrations of several legacy POPs that have been banned for decades in most parts of the world have generally declined in polar bears. Current spatial trends of contaminants vary widely between compounds and recent studies suggest increased concentrations of both POPs and PFCAs in certain sub populations. Correlative held studies, supported by in vitro studies, suggest that contaminant exposure disrupts circulating levels of thyroid hormones and lipid metabolism, and alters neurochemistry in polar bears. Additionally, field and in vitro studies and risk assessments indicate the potential for adverse impacts to polar bear immune functions from exposure to certain contaminants. (C) 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

TidsskriftScience of the Total Environment
Sider (fra-til)1063-1083
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 10 maj 2019

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