The full list of projects contains the entire database hosted on this portal, across the available directories. The projects and activities (across all directories/catalogs) are also available by country of origin, by geographical region, or by directory.
Elevated levels of 137Cs caused by previous atmospheric nuclear weapons tests fallout and the Chernobyl accident have been observed in Finnmark, Northern Norway. Due to the large consumption of potentially contaminated reindeer meat, whole body measurements of 137Cs levels in reindeer herders have been performed since 1965.
In Greenland lead contamination of the edible parts of seabirds, particularly eiders, is high because the birds have been killed with lead shot. Therefore bird-eaters are exposed to a high lead intake, probably often exceeding safe limits. In this study we will compare the lead level in human blood in a group of people from Nuuk, Greenland eating many birds with the level in a group eating few. This will enable us to assess if the high lead exposure is reflected in people and constitutes a health risk. The project is conducted in cooperation with The Medical Clinic in Nuuk and The Center for Arctic Environmental Medicine, Aarhus University.
In Greenland the human intake of mercury and cadmium from local diet is high. In an autopsy study, mercury and cadmium concentrations in humans has been analyzed. This study will make it possible to assess to what extent the high intake of mercury and cadmium is reflected in human tissue.
Marine foodwebs as vector and possibly source of viruses and bacteria patogenic to humans shall be investigated in a compartive north-south study. Effects of sewage from ships traffic and urban settlements, on animals of arctic foodwebs will be studied.
A proposal has been submitted to the National Science Foundation titled: For Support of the Arctic Social Science Data Center at NSIDC, OPP-0119836.
Persistent organic pollution is a global problem. This fact is especially apparent in the Arctic where pesticides currently used in distant environments accumulate, in some cases to higher levels than those observed in the source region. This pollution threatens the well-being of the aboriginal inhabitants of these regions. Most of the traditionally harvested animals in the Arctic are long-lived and from the higher trophic levels of the food chain, thereby providing an opportunity for considerable bioaccumulation and biomagnification of persistent contaminants. This has prompted a growing concern by the Alaska Inupiat that pollutants in the environment might be contributing to their unique morbidity and mortality rates, especially of their children. Our studies are currently focused on two specific organic pollutants found in the Arctic environment; 1}hexachlorobenzene (HCB), a byproduct during manufacture of several different chlorinated compounds and consistently detected in the Arctic and, 2} dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethylene (p,p’-DDE), a chlorinated environmental breakdown product measured in the Arctic population at significantly higher concentrations than the parent pesticide, DDT. We hypothesize that mammalian embryonic cell exposure to these chemicals, individually or as mixtures at environmentally relevant concentrations and ratios, will alter the cell cycle and/or cause death by apoptosis, rather than by necrosis. We also predict synergistic cytotoxicity of the chemical mixture because of an accumulation of deleterious effects at different cellular target sites by each chemical. We further hypothesize that while some chemicals target non-genetic cellular components (such as a cell membrane or cytosolic component), other chemical effects will occur primarily at the genetic level, directly or indirectly. Our experiments have been designed as a set of sensitive cellular and molecular assays to compare levels and types of cytotoxic and genotoxic activity of the above chemicals (individual and mixture), at environmentally relevant concentrations, upon embryonic cells in culture. Our experimental evidence thus far is that these chemicals, separately or as a mixture at concentrations and molar ratios relevant to that measured in the Arctic environment, do have cytotoxic and/or genotoxic effects that could result in profound consequences to exposed tissues of a developing embryo or fetus. We have further experimental evidence that exposure to both chemicals at environmentally relevant concentrations is more toxic to the cell than the sum of effects by exposure to the individual chemicals. Experimental results indicate this is due to different cellular target sites for each chemical (Appendix A: Preliminary Results).
Besides some beneficial effects of UV exposure, i.e. skin tanning and vitamin D production, UV ex-posure can have deleterious effects on human health. Deleterious effects are a.o. skin cancer, skin aging, wrinkling, cataract, snow blindness, and effects on the immune system. The objectives of this project are especially aimed at the detection of UV effects on the human immune system and as a consequence of the UV induced immunomodulation effects on the resistance to infections and tumors. Research activities Research activities are focussed at laboratory animal studies, studies with human volunteers, epidemiology and mathematical modelling.
Brief: Assessment of the significance of aquatic food chains as a pathways of exposure of indigenous peoples to PTS, assessment of the relative importance of local and distant sources, and the role of atmospheric and riverine transport of PTS in Northern Russia. Project rationale and objectives: (1) To assess levels of Persistent Toxic Substances (PTS) in the environment in selected areas of the Russian North, their biomagnification in aquatic and terrestrial food chains, and contamination of traditional (country) foods that are important components of the diet of indigenous peoples. (2) To assess exposure of indigenous peoples in the Russian North to PTS, and the human health impacts of pollution from local and remote sources, as a basis for actions to reduce the risks associated with these exposures. (3) To inform indigenous peoples about contamination by PTS of their environment and traditional food sources, and empower them to take appropriate remedial actions to reduce health risks. (4) To enhance the position of the Russian Federation in international negotiations to reduce the use of PTS, and to empower the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) to participate actively and fully in these negotiations. Project activities to achieve outcomes: (1) Inventory of local pollution sources in the vicinities of selected indigenous communities. (2) Survey of levels and fluxes of PTS in riverine and coastal marine environment important for indigenous peoples living in these environments and using them for their subsistence; and assessment of fluxes of PTS to these environments via selected rivers and the atmosphere. (3) Dietary surveys of selected indigenous communities. (4) Study of biomagnification, based on measurements of selected PTS in representative species in food chains important for the traditional diet of indigenous populations. (5) Survey and comparative assessment of pollution levels of the indigenous and general population in selected areas. (6) Dissemination of results to all relevant stakeholders.
The objective of this project is to obtain a comprehensive and verifiable information on contaminant exposure of indigenous populations of the Russian Barents Region through aquatic food. Subgoals: To evaluate the contaminant uptakes for blood samples that have been collected by health workers from local indigenous populations, focusing on cord blood levels. To connect and integrate the project and protocols with the ongoing cord blood study of indigenous peoples of Alaska and Eastern Russia, lead by dr. Jim Berner and others in the region.
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.
This study investigates possible detrimental effects on the immune system of Inuit infants which may be induced by prenatal and postnatal (breast feeding) exposure to persistent environmental contaminants such as organochlorine compounds. These substances accumulate in the body of Inuit women in part due to their consumption of sea mammal fat and can be transferred to the foetus during pregnacy and to the infant during breast feeding. Immune system function will be evaluated using several parameters: 1) the level of antibody produced by the infant following Haemophilus influenza immunization; 2) the level of proteins which protect the infant against bacterial infections (complement system) before its immune system is fully developed; and 3) the level of chemical messengers (cytokines) which enable the various cells of the immune system to communicate with each other, thereby maintaining its proper function and assuring the protection of the infant against bacteria, parasitic and viral infections.
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).
Case control study of the possible effect of smokinf status on the acumulation of plasma POP in 48 Greenlandic hunters.
The purpose of this research is to examine the long term consequences of prenatal exposure to PCBs and MeHg. This project is designed to study domains of effects overlooked in most of the previous studies. Of particular interest is the impact of exposure on neurophysiological and neurological endpoints that could be related to learning difficulties and disabilities. This study will support the health risk assessment process by providing dose-effect analysis for the neurophysiological and neurological domains of effects of preschool age children from Nunavik (Canada). The total sample will comprise 100 Nunavik Inuit children aged 5-6years. The following exclusion criteria will be applied: Apgar below 5 at 5 minutes of life, evidence of birth trauma, less than 37 weeks of gestation and less than 2500 grams at birth, congenital or chromosomal anomalies, epilepsy, significant disease history, major neurological impairment, fetal alcohol syndrome, presence of facial dysmorphologies associated with fetal alcohol effects.
Analysis of POP and heavy metals, in men and women (pregnant and non-pregnant), time and spatial trends, lifestyle factors, diet and smoking, biomarkers
The objective of the study is to establish baseline levels of specific heavy metal and organochlorine contaminants in the blood of women and their newborns, from communities in the Inuvik Region. The study examines traditional food consumption as a possible contaminant exposure pathway, while measuring organochlorines and metals in maternal and cord blood, as well as mercury levels in maternal hair. Collection of data from this region will complete the Northwest Territories/Nunavut database on maternal and cord blood. There were 104 women participating in this study from Inuvialuit, Gwich'in and non-native backgrounds. The results are similar to existing data from other regions in the Canadian north and confirm the importance of traditional foods among women of reproductive age. Exposure levels to contaminants were generally within guideline levels with only a few exceptions. Communication of results to the communities will continue until June 2000. Objectives: 1.To obtain regional values for the concentrations of organochlorine and metal contaminants in maternal and umbilical cord blood samples, and the concentration of mercury in hair samples from pregnant women in the Inuvik region. 2.To assess exposure to these contaminants through the frequency of traditional/country food intake and certain other lifestyle factors. 3.To describe any relationship between contaminant levels in blood and hair samples and frequency of consumption of traditional/country foods and selected lifestyle factors.
The objectives of the centre are: - to provide access to data from recent human health monitoring and research activities conducted as part of the AMAP national implementation plans. - to provide a means to ensure treatment of data in a consistent manner, uniform statistical analysis etc., including application of objective quality assurance procedures. - to begin the process of establishing a long-term archive of relevant Arctic monitoring data for use in future assessments of temporal trends etc. - to meet the ministerial request from the Alta Conference to include human health data in the AMAP thematic data centres.
Objectives: 1. Locate and assemble scientific data from the U.S. Arctic on the concentrations and effects of POPs in all compartments (e.g., marine and terrestrial biota, abiotic substrates) of the Arctic. 2. Evaluate, analyze and summarize these scientific data from the U.S. Arctic into text suitable for inclusion in a new (second) AMAP publication on POPs. 3. Disseminate the summarized information via a U.S. AMAP Internet page that is directly linked to the current International AMAP Internet page. Summary (Abstract): The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) was established in 1991 and given the responsibility of monitoring the concentrations and assessing the effects of selected anthropogenic pollutants in all compartments of the Arctic. The first AMAP assessment report, published in 1998, points out gaps in our current understanding of contaminant inputs, their transport processes and food web interactions. In addition, the AMAP report noted a serious lack of information about persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the U.S. and Russian Arctic. Thus, the recommendations of the first AMAP report were to: monitor spatial distribution, contaminant levels and biological effects of POPs; improve the understanding of the adverse effects of POPs on human populations; and fill existing data gaps, specifically in the U.S. and Russia. In this work, we plan to identify sources of scientific information (e.g., published reports, datasets) on POPs in the U.S. Arctic and obtain these data for AMAP. Once data sources are identified, a small group of scientific experts will be assembled for a workshop to determine if any pertinent sources have been overlooked and to give advice on how best to evaluate, analyze, summarize and disseminate the information obtained. A working database will be designed so that the data and scientifically important findings or conclusions from each study can be organized and evaluated. Data will be analyzed statistically, as appropriate, to determine spatial and temporal trends. The data and scientific findings that have been collected and analyzed will then be summarized into text, for inclusion in the next AMAP publication on POPs. This major effort of synthesizing the existing data from the U.S. Arctic will ensure that the AMAP report adequately presents the accomplishments of U.S. scientists and research programs. The written publication and the summarized U.S. POPs data will also be presented as a U.S. AMAP Internet page linked to the International AMAP Internet page.