Environmental Contaminants in Polar Regions

That persistent environmental contaminants are found in arctic ecosystems is a fact that has been known for a long time. But we still know too little about their sources, dispersal and effects.

Our knowledge of the transport and uptake of contaminants in arctic organisms, along with developments over time (monitoring of trends) is very important, both for businesses and industry, such as fish exporters, and for the people who live in the North.

Food safety is important for the nation as a whole and especially for northern populations. In addition, the detection of new environmental contaminants in the Arctic is of great importance in the regulation of chemicals under the Stockholm Convention and for the EU’s REACH programme.

With the Arctic as a global “early warning laboratory” for the detection of new contaminants with undesirable properties, Norway has a unique opportunity and position to become the leading steward of the environment in the North.

NILU at the Fram Centre

At the Fram Centre in Tromsø, NILU is in charge of the centre’s flagship: Environmental pollutants – effects on ecosystems and health. The efforts of the centre mainly relate to the following themes:

  • Ecotoxicology and organic pollutants
  • Lipid characterization and detection of organic pollutants
  • Accumulation of contaminants in Arctic food chains
  • Studies of the relationship between POPs and fat composition
  • Degradation and biological effects of persistent organic pollutants
  • Development of models to describe the spread of contaminants to the Arctic
  • Collection of human data for use in epidemiological studies