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The main objective of the project is to describe quantitatively with model calculations the global distribution behaviour of persistent organic contaminants, and to establish credibility in the results of these simulations.
Objectives 1. To determine tissue residue levels of metals and radionuclides in caribou given its importance as a country food species. 2. To monitor contaminant exposure in caribou as a representative species of the terrestrial arctic ecosystem. 3. To examine metal speciation and isotopes ratios (uranium, thorium, strontium, titanium) which may provide insight into the source of contamination (anthropogenic vs. natural). 4.To provide information on temporal trends in radionuclide and metal levels in several caribou herds to determine whether levels are increasing, decreasing or remaining the same over time. 5. To determine the efficacy of international controls in reducing or eliminating pollutants entering the Canadian Arctic terrestrial ecosystem. Barren-ground caribou are found across northern Canada, and are a major component of the traditional diet in communities across the Northwest Territories (NWT) and Nunavut. Caribou are a good indicator species for terrestrial ecosystem contamination given their wide distribution across northern Canada, the simple air-lichen-caribou food chain, the existing baseline data set, and their importance as a country food species. Three (3) caribou herds from across the NWT and Nunavut have been selected as sentinel herds, with a different herd to be sampled each year to determine tissue residue levels and monitor temporal trends. Field collections will be conducted in cooperation with local Hunter’s and Trapper’s Organizations and/or local aboriginal organizations, utilizing local hunters in planning and conducting the field work. Samples will be tested for a wide range of environmental contaminants including 10 heavy metals and 7 radionuclides.
In order to address the the question of utility of arctic seabird eggs as an indicator of contaminant temporal trends, it was proposed that: (1) archived arctic seabird egg contents be re-analyzed for organochlorines according to a standardized pooling and analytical protocol in order to confirm whether those residues have been decreasing since the mid-1970s, (2) archived arctic seabird egg contents be analyzed for mercury and selenium to determine whether or not those levels have been increasing or decreasing since the mid-1970s, (3) egg contents and adult livers be analyzed by full scan and ICP to identify any "new" or previously unidentified organochlorines (MS full scan) or metals (ICP) which may have entered the Canadian arctic food chain.
In order to determine the role of contaminants in declining populations of seaducks, it is proposed that: (1) archived samples of Oldsquaw collected from their Canadian arctic breeding grounds be analyzed for Hg, Se and Cu (in liver), Cd (in kidney), Pb (in wing bone), and selected samples be screened for a wider range of metals (in liver), and (2) archived samples of Oldsquaw wing bone be analyzed for stable isotopes (13C/12C; 15N/14N, and 34S/32S) and strontium (Sr) to discriminate whether birds from certain geographical areas of the Arctic are overwintering in freshwater (i.e. Great Lakes) or marine environments.
1) To determine tissue residue levels of organochlorines and metals in arctic fox feeding in or near an arctic coastal environment. 2) To assess whether or not residue levels found in arctic fox pose a potential wildlife health risk. 3) As part of a pilot project, to determine residue levels and assess potential wildlife health risk to wolverines feeding in or near a coastal environment.
Risk determination for traditional food should consider the potential risks from exposure to contaminants and the sociocultural, nutritional, economic and spiritual benefits associated with traditional food. Factors which influence Inuit food choices should be further analyzed to add precision to the evaluation of risks and benefits of traditional food consumption. The data of the Nutrition Santé Québec Survey are a potential source for this type of analysis since data are available and are representative of the entire region of Nunavik. The proposed work consists of more detailed analysis of the existing data on food intake among the Inuit of Nunavik collected in 1992 during the Santé Québec Health Survey and to extend our analyses to contaminant intakes. Intakes (mean and median) of traditional and market foods, nutrients and contaminants will be calculated according to the makeup/structure of households, the level of education, the level of household income and coastal place of residence. Intakes will also calculated according to the social assistance status of Inuit. Among Inuit depending on social assistance, comparisons of food, nutrient and contaminant intakes according to the time of the month in which the survey took place will be examined. Statistical comparisons of food intakes will also be done between Inuit who stated having lacked food in the month prior to the survey and those who did not. Nutrient intakes will be compared with daily recommended nutrient intakes (RNI) based on nutritional recommendations issued by Health Canada. More detailed and reliable information regarding sociodemographic factors affecting food intake, nutritional status and contaminant exposure among Inuit will help to orient public health authorities in the promotion of health through traditional food consumption.
Among all contaminants present in different aquatic ecosystems in Canada, methylmercury (MeHg) is a major source of concern for public health. Currently, it is difficult to reliably determine the threshold of MeHg concentration at which functional changes occur. On the other hand, it is well known that chronic MeHg exposure is very harmful for the nervous system. Oxidative reactions appear to be of central importance to mercury toxicity. Therefore, it is important and urgent to determine with precision the minimal dose at which oxidative stress and neurotoxic effects can be identified since some studies suggest that MeHg toxicity can be detected at level far below the minimal exposure level proposed by the World Health Organization. The main goal of this project is to investigate the effects of mercury on sensorimotor functions in the population of Salluit. We will examine the relationship between the level of MeHg and sensorimotor performance. Afterwards, specific recommendations based on quantitative evidence will be made to the concerned populations so as to diminish long-term risk on health.
The main purpose of this research is to examine the consequences of in utero exposure to PCBs on Inuit infants, from birth to 11 months of age. Of particular interest is the impact of PCBs and mercury exposure on newborn’s thyroid hormones, physical growth, physical and central nervous system maturity, on infant’s overall health, mental, psychomotor and neurobehavioral development, and on functional and neural impairment in the domains of visual and spatial information processing. The proposed project is designed to replicate and extend previous findings by studying a more highly exposed cohort of infant, and using new infant assessment paradigms that have been linked to specific brain regions and neural pathways and, therefore, have a potential to provide information regarding possible mechanisms of action. The second objective of this research is to document the exposure to heavy metals, organochlorines and polyunsaturated fatty acids of newborns from selected communities in Nunavik. This ongoing effect study provides the opportunity to perform long time trend analysis of human exposure (data available for same communities since 1993).
LONG TERM: Determine the effects, at the individual and population level, of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and their metabolites in the polar bear; determine trend of POPs in the Arctic marine environment using polar bear tissues as a biomonitor. SHORT TERM: a. Determine 10-year temporal trends of POPs in the Hudson Bay Sub-Arctic Ecosystem from 1990-1989 by analysis of archived polar bear biopsy samples, including changes in enantiomeric composition of -HCH and chlordane compounds and ratio of -HCH/-HCH (cross-referenced to separate proposal on HCHs). b. Determine if there is selective tissue distribution of the enantiomers of chiral contaminants in polar bears, which may influence target organ toxicity, by analysis of archived polar bear samples. c. Determine the endocrine disrupting effect of POPs on testosterone and PCB metabolite profiles by in vitro metabolism studies using polar bear liver microsomes. d. In collaboration with CWS P&N Region, the Norwegian Polar Institute and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, determine the immunotoxic effects of PCBs and other organochlorines in polar bears throughout a gradient of exposure (Hudson Bay, low; Svalbard, high). e. Determine the effects of hydroxy-PCBs on circulating thyroid hormone and vitamin A concentrations.
The objectives of this project are A) to determine coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs), brominated diphenyl ethers (BDPEs), chlorophenolic compounds and chloroparaffins in air from arctic monitoring stations; and B) to search for other "new" chemicals in the arctic environment, not currently monitored by Canada's Northern Contaminants Program (NCP) but of potential concern based on known persistence, extent of usage and toxicology.