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Contaminants in the Arctic

The Arctic environment is under pressure by environmental contaminants, especially the persistent and bioaccumulative pollutants. The so-called POP chemicals. These pollutants are mainly from long-distance transport from other continents. There is a higher bioaccumulation of polutants in the Arctic areas compared to other parts of the globe due to the high food chains. It poses a special threat to animals and people and is an important environmental challenge that the institute has worked with for many years.

A number of challenges in the Arctic are particularly prevalent.

  • The rapid climate change in the Arctic is affecting the effects and concentrations of contaminants.
  • Chemical pollutants degrade more slowly in the Arctic environment due to the cold climate.
  • POP chemicals are being regulated / banned internationally, but the results in form of a decrease in the environment occur only slowly in the Arctic environment.
  • Compounds with roughly the same properties often replace these regulated chemicals - thus they also will pose a threat to the environment.

Research into the processes that have an impact on the transport and accumulation of pollutants in the Arctic is a focus area of ​​the department, mainly in national and international collaborations.