Time Trend of Persistent Organic Pollutants and Metals in Greenlandic Inuit during 1994-2015

By Manhai Long, Maria Wielsøe, and Eva Cecilie Bonefeld-Jørgensen
Int J Environ Res Public Health
April 13, 2021
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18052774

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organchlorine pesticides and perfluoroalkylated substances (PFASs) and heavy metals bioaccumulate in the marine food chain in the Arctic regions, and thus, the Greenlandic population has a higher body burden due to relatively high intake of marine mammals. We assessed the temporal trend for POPs, including PCB 153; 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis (p-chlorophenyl)-ethylene (p,p'-DDE); oxychlordane; six PFASs; mercury; lead and selenium in Inuit from Ilulissat, Nuuk, and across Greenland (including thirteen towns/districts), from 1994 to 2015. Data showed a significant annual decrease of 6.85-8.61% for PCB153, 6.67-8.61% for p,p'-DDE, 6.11-9.52% for oxychlordane, 5.92-6.76% for mercury and 6.48-9.43% for lead in Inuit women from Nuuk, Ilulissat, and across thirteen Greenlandic districts. The blood selenium level of all Greenlandic women increased 1.01% annually, while the trend direction was negative for Nuuk women. A similar pattern was seen for men across Greenland, with a yearly decrease of 11.3% for PCB 153, 8.61% for p,p'-DDE, 15.6% for oxychlordane, 13.1% for mercury and 12.2% for lead. Perfluorooctane sulfonate, perfluorohexane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid significantly decreased 5.82-11.7% annually for both women and men across Greenland. For perfluorononanoic acid, perfluorodecanoic acid and perfluoroundecanoic acid, we observed an increasing trend for women across Greenland. In conclusion, there was a decreasing trend of the regulated POPs and metals but a potential increasing trend of the nonregulated PFASs in the Greenlandic population between 1994 and 2015. The continuing biomonitoring of contaminants of concern is important to protect the Arctic population heath.

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