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Plastics as a carrier of chemical additives to the Arctic: Possibilities for strategic monitoring across the circumpolar North

Hamilton, Bonnie M.; Baak, Julia E.; Vorkamp, Katrin; Hammer, Sjúrður; Granberg, Maria; Herzke, Dorte; Provencher, Jennifer F.


Tidsskrift: Arctic Science, vol. 9, 284–296, 2023

Doi: doi.org/10.1139/as-2021-0055

Plastic pollution (including microplastics) has been reported in a variety of biotic and abiotic compartments across the circumpolar Arctic. Due to their environmental ubiquity, there is a need to understand not only the fate and transport of physical plastic particles, but also the fate and transport of additive chemicals associated with plastic pollution. Further, there is a fundamental research gap in understanding long-range transport of chemical additives to the Arctic via plastics as well as their behavior under environmentally relevant Arctic conditions. Here, we comment on the state of the science of plastic as carriers of chemical additives to the Arctic, and highlight research priorities going forward. We suggest further research on the transport pathways of chemical additives via plastics from both distant and local sources and laboratory experiments to investigate chemical behavior of plastic additives under Arctic conditions, including leaching, uptake, and bioaccumulation. Ultimately, chemical additives need to be included in strategic monitoring efforts to fully understand the contaminant burden of plastic pollution in Arctic ecosystems.