Journal : Journal of Environmental Monitoring , vol. 5 , p. 689–696 , 2003
International Standard Numbers
Printed : 1464-0325
Electronic : 1464-0333
Publication type : Academic article
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Some of the people living in the Chukotka Peninsula of Russia depend heavily on marine mammals, but little is known of the exact dietary patterns and plasma levels of POPs among these populations. In this study, POPs levels in plasma from 50 participants from the isolated community of Uelen (Bering Strait) were determined and related to dietary information obtained through a food frequency questionnaire. The intake of marine mammals was high and the combined intake of blubber from walrus, seal and whale was a significant predictor (p < 0.01) of plasma concentrations of sum PCBs and borderline for sum CDs (p = 0.02) and sum DDTs (p = 0.04). There was a significant gender difference in the levels of POPs, and among women there was a significant increase with age. Extensive breastfeeding and lower blubber intake among women could be possible explanations for this gender difference. Despite the high intake of blubber the plasma levels of PCBs and DDTs were lower than some of those reported for the East Coast of Greenland. The geometric mean values for sum PCBs (17 congeners) and sum DDTs were 1316 ng g(-1) lipids and 563 ng g(-1) lipids, respectively. PCB 163, which partly co-eluted with PCB 138, was found in high concentrations (40% of PCB 138). This raises questions regarding the validity of using PCB 138 and PCB 153 to calculate the level of Arochlor 1260. The geometric mean of sum CDs was 518 ng g(-1) lipids. Concentrations of β-HCH (geometric mean; 410 ng g(-1) lipids) were higher than observed for other native populations depending on marine mammals. Transportation of β-HCH by ocean currents through the Bering Strait into the Arctic Ocean or regional point sources might explain these elevated levels.