In addition to local emissions, the release and transport of chemical contaminants and heavy metals from around the world are increasingly linked to a number of diseases and adverse effects on health in the Arctic. Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and heavy metals have been shown to affect hormone production in Arctic mammals and seabirds. This has harmful effects on reproductive capacity, growth, the immune system and the body’s ability to regulate temperature. In humans, exposure has been linked to cancer, cardiovascular diseases and negative effects on the nervous system and reproductive health. Like heavy metals such as mercury, POPs accumulate and magnify throughout the food chain. This means higher concentrations in top predators like humans and marine mammals.
AMAP Assessment 2015, Human Health in the Arctic; AMAP Assessment 2018, Biological Effects of Contaminants on Arctic Wildlife and Fish.
From collection: Global linkages – a graphic look at the changing Arctic (rev.1)
Philippe Rekacewicz and Nieves Lopez Izquierdo