Projects/Activities

The full list of projects contains the entire database hosted on this portal, across the available directories. The projects and activities (across all directories/catalogs) are also available by country of origin, by geographical region, or by directory.

Displaying: 41 - 60 of 71 Next
41. Food and Drinking Water

Estimates of human intake of environmental pollutions via food and drinking water are performed in cooperation with the National Food Administration (Table 4, #9.4). During 2006 an estimation of children’s intake of dioxin was finalized. The concentration of pollutants in groundwater wells is studied in cooperation with SGU and the National Board of Health and Welfare.

Human health
42. Swedish health monitoring of metals

One focus of SEPA’s subprogram for human biological data concerns metals in human bodies (Table 4, #9.1). It includes studies on lead concentration in human blood, mercury in hair, and cadmium concentration in urine. Old hair samples have been collected and analyzed for mercury. Methyl mercury may damage the central nervous system, and at the fetal stage effects may occur already after low exposure. A study in Uppsala is investigating persistent organic compounds in breast milk. Concurrently, the young mothers answer a questionnaire, and hair samples are collected to analyze methyl mercury. Cadmium in urine is an indicator of the load on kidneys, and especially women with low iron storage have an elevated risk for increased cadmium uptake. A program on cadmium in women that started in Gothenburg, then expanded to Stockholm, Lund, and Umeå is under way. In 2007, a second round started in Gothenburg. A questionnaire is filled in concurrently with collection of a urine sample.

Pollution sources Human health
43. Biological Data – Organic Substances

Organic compounds, especially persistent organic pollutants (POP), are of special interest and are included in one of SEPA’s subprograms (Table 4, #9.2). The subprogram includes different groups in the population. On military enlistment, young men are tested for persistent organic compounds in the body. Mercury content is measured in high consumers of fish, and the concentration of flame retardants is measured in samples of breast milk from women who breast-feed. The National Food Administration stores important data from control of pesticides in vegetables, where more than 2 000 samples are taken per year and residues from more than 200 different pesticides are analyzed. To date, no data have been analyzed and reported from this material, but it will be done in the first phase of this SEPA subprogram. Sampling of breast milk will continue with the intent to monitor organic environmental pollutants. Already existing is a long time series on the concentration of flame retardants and PCB in breast milk. Concurrently, samples will be transferred to the environmental sample bank at the Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM), which means that samples will be available for comparison in the future.

Pollution sources Human health
44. Air Pollutants – Exposition Studies

Studies of human exposure to cancer-inducing air pollutants (Table 4, #9.3) are being conducted in Gothenburg, Umeå, Stockholm, and other sites. The importance of smoking habits, traffic, and other potential sources will be determined for a better risk evaluation. Measurements will be conducted according to a rolling schedule, with one city at a time and a group of 40 randomly chosen people, 20 to 50 years of age. The background concentrations in air will be followed at the same time. Exposure to nitrogen dioxide is particularly severe during winter. An estimate of the number of people exposed to nitrogen dioxide concentrations in excess of current limits is performed every fifth year. An improved method of calculation, i.e. the urban model, has been used since winter 2006/2007. The urban model will also be used to calculate the number of people that are overexposed to particles.

Pollution sources Human health
45. Whole body measurements on reindeer herders in Finnmark, Norway

Elevated levels of 137Cs caused by previous atmospheric nuclear weapons tests fallout and the Chernobyl accident have been observed in Finnmark, Northern Norway. Due to the large consumption of potentially contaminated reindeer meat, whole body measurements of 137Cs levels in reindeer herders have been performed since 1965.

Radioactivity Indigenous people Long-range transport Radionuclides Exposure Arctic Reindeer 137Cs Whole body measurements Human health Human intake
46. Effects of lead intake in human blood

In Greenland lead contamination of the edible parts of seabirds, particularly eiders, is high because the birds have been killed with lead shot. Therefore bird-eaters are exposed to a high lead intake, probably often exceeding safe limits. In this study we will compare the lead level in human blood in a group of people from Nuuk, Greenland eating many birds with the level in a group eating few. This will enable us to assess if the high lead exposure is reflected in people and constitutes a health risk. The project is conducted in cooperation with The Medical Clinic in Nuuk and The Center for Arctic Environmental Medicine, Aarhus University.

Heavy metals Human health
47. Human bioaccumulation of mercury and cadmium

In Greenland the human intake of mercury and cadmium from local diet is high. In an autopsy study, mercury and cadmium concentrations in humans has been analyzed. This study will make it possible to assess to what extent the high intake of mercury and cadmium is reflected in human tissue.

Heavy metals Human health Human intake
48. ATMospheric Fluxes from Arctic Snow Surfaces - ATMS

The central objectives of the proposed ATMAS project are:  to quantify the photo-chemically triggered NOx and HONO re-emission fluxes from permanently and seasonally snow-covered surfaces in the Arctic near Ny-Ålesund,  to quantify the sources of NO3 in these snow-covered surfaces. In detail, the following scientific objectives of ATMAS can be distinguished: 1. to quantify atmospheric gradient fluxes of HNO3, HONO, particulate nitrogen compounds, and nitrogen in precipitation (snow and rain) above snow surfaces; 2. to quantify the emission of NOx and HONO from the snow pack as atmospheric gradient fluxes 3. to formulate an influx-outflow relationship that can be used in dependence on the snow type for (photo-)chemical atmospheric process models. The results of this research may be expanded to a regional (European) or global scale, to suggest how the NOx and HONO re-emission process and its consequences can be included into regional emission, dispersion and deposition models used in Europe.

Atmospheric processes Ozone gaseous ammonia nitrogen bio-geochemical cycle Pollution sources Climate change tropospheric boundary layer nitrogen oxides Ice Emissions SNOW and SNOWPACK Arctic Data management photochemical production Atmosphere Human health
49. Marine food webs as vector of human patogens

Marine foodwebs as vector and possibly source of viruses and bacteria patogenic to humans shall be investigated in a compartive north-south study. Effects of sewage from ships traffic and urban settlements, on animals of arctic foodwebs will be studied.

Pathways Biological effects Hydrography Fish Discharges Pollution sources Environmental management Contaminant transport Terrestrial mammals Shipping Polar bear Exposure Arctic Local pollution Seabirds Shellfish Food webs Waste Human health Human intake Marine mammals
50. Algal Toxins; their Accumulation and Loss in commercially Important Shellfish, including larval Mortality and Appraisal of Normal sampling procedures.

-Development of methods to enhance the rate of toxin depuration ( detoxification), especially in shellfish species of high economic value and prolonged retention e.g., King Scallops -Understanding the reaction products and metabolic transformations of toxins in shellfish tissues. -Determine the relationship between algal population dynamics ( including free cell and encysted stages ) to seasonal and spatial patterns of toxicity in shellfish populations. -Assess the effects of harmful algae on the various stages in the life history of shellfish ( Larvae, Spat, Adults ). -Investigate sampling frequencies and protocols ( live shellfish sampling ).

Biology Fish Environmental management Contaminant transport Food webs Diet Temporal trends Human health Human intake
51. Algal Toxins; their Accumulation and Loss in commercially Important Shellfish, including larval Mortality and Appraisal of Normal sampling procedures.

-Development of methods to enhance the rate of toxin depuration ( detoxification), especially in shellfish species of high economic value and prolonged retention e.g., King Scallops -Understanding the reaction products and metabolic transformations of toxins in shellfish tissues. -Determine the relationship between algal population dynamics ( including free cell and encysted stages ) to seasonal and spatial patterns of toxicity in shellfish populations. -Assess the effects of harmful algae on the various stages in the life history of shellfish ( Larvae, Spat, Adults ). -Investigate sampling frequencies and protocols ( live shellfish sampling ).

Biology Fish Environmental management Contaminant transport Food webs Diet Temporal trends Human health Human intake
52. Diversity and function of the bacterial flora of the toxic alga Gymnodinium catenatum Graham

1. To descirbe and compare the phylogenetic diversity and distribution of the total bacterial flora associated with G catenatum cysts and vegetative cells. 2. To culture and identify bacteria from G catenatum, and identify/characterise any bacteria capable of autonomous PST production in G. catenatum 3. To examine the effect of cyst surface sterilisation and re-introduction of bacteria on PST production in G catenatum 4. Survey bacteria for quorum sensing capability (cell signaling) and detect in situ quorum sesing in xenic G. catenatum cultures, relating to toxicity development. 5. Develop molecular markers of cross species quorum sensing, facilitating analysis of quorum sensing in uncultivated bacteria.

Pathways Biological effects Sources Fish Environmental management Food webs Human health Ecosystems Human intake
53. Toxicological effects of bioaccumulated pollutants

Persistent organic pollution is a global problem. This fact is especially apparent in the Arctic where pesticides currently used in distant environments accumulate, in some cases to higher levels than those observed in the source region. This pollution threatens the well-being of the aboriginal inhabitants of these regions. Most of the traditionally harvested animals in the Arctic are long-lived and from the higher trophic levels of the food chain, thereby providing an opportunity for considerable bioaccumulation and biomagnification of persistent contaminants. This has prompted a growing concern by the Alaska Inupiat that pollutants in the environment might be contributing to their unique morbidity and mortality rates, especially of their children. Our studies are currently focused on two specific organic pollutants found in the Arctic environment; 1}hexachlorobenzene (HCB), a byproduct during manufacture of several different chlorinated compounds and consistently detected in the Arctic and, 2} dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethylene (p,p’-DDE), a chlorinated environmental breakdown product measured in the Arctic population at significantly higher concentrations than the parent pesticide, DDT. We hypothesize that mammalian embryonic cell exposure to these chemicals, individually or as mixtures at environmentally relevant concentrations and ratios, will alter the cell cycle and/or cause death by apoptosis, rather than by necrosis. We also predict synergistic cytotoxicity of the chemical mixture because of an accumulation of deleterious effects at different cellular target sites by each chemical. We further hypothesize that while some chemicals target non-genetic cellular components (such as a cell membrane or cytosolic component), other chemical effects will occur primarily at the genetic level, directly or indirectly. Our experiments have been designed as a set of sensitive cellular and molecular assays to compare levels and types of cytotoxic and genotoxic activity of the above chemicals (individual and mixture), at environmentally relevant concentrations, upon embryonic cells in culture. Our experimental evidence thus far is that these chemicals, separately or as a mixture at concentrations and molar ratios relevant to that measured in the Arctic environment, do have cytotoxic and/or genotoxic effects that could result in profound consequences to exposed tissues of a developing embryo or fetus. We have further experimental evidence that exposure to both chemicals at environmentally relevant concentrations is more toxic to the cell than the sum of effects by exposure to the individual chemicals. Experimental results indicate this is due to different cellular target sites for each chemical (Appendix A: Preliminary Results).

Biological effects Indigenous people Exposure Arctic Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Human health
54. Health effects of increased UV exposure

Besides some beneficial effects of UV exposure, i.e. skin tanning and vitamin D production, UV ex-posure can have deleterious effects on human health. Deleterious effects are a.o. skin cancer, skin aging, wrinkling, cataract, snow blindness, and effects on the immune system. The objectives of this project are especially aimed at the detection of UV effects on the human immune system and as a consequence of the UV induced immunomodulation effects on the resistance to infections and tumors. Research activities Research activities are focussed at laboratory animal studies, studies with human volunteers, epidemiology and mathematical modelling.

Biological effects epidemiology UV radiation immunology Exposure Human health
55. Persistent Toxic Substances (PTS), Food Security and Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North

Brief: Assessment of the significance of aquatic food chains as a pathways of exposure of indigenous peoples to PTS, assessment of the relative importance of local and distant sources, and the role of atmospheric and riverine transport of PTS in Northern Russia. Project rationale and objectives: (1) To assess levels of Persistent Toxic Substances (PTS) in the environment in selected areas of the Russian North, their biomagnification in aquatic and terrestrial food chains, and contamination of traditional (country) foods that are important components of the diet of indigenous peoples. (2) To assess exposure of indigenous peoples in the Russian North to PTS, and the human health impacts of pollution from local and remote sources, as a basis for actions to reduce the risks associated with these exposures. (3) To inform indigenous peoples about contamination by PTS of their environment and traditional food sources, and empower them to take appropriate remedial actions to reduce health risks. (4) To enhance the position of the Russian Federation in international negotiations to reduce the use of PTS, and to empower the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) to participate actively and fully in these negotiations. Project activities to achieve outcomes: (1) Inventory of local pollution sources in the vicinities of selected indigenous communities. (2) Survey of levels and fluxes of PTS in riverine and coastal marine environment important for indigenous peoples living in these environments and using them for their subsistence; and assessment of fluxes of PTS to these environments via selected rivers and the atmosphere. (3) Dietary surveys of selected indigenous communities. (4) Study of biomagnification, based on measurements of selected PTS in representative species in food chains important for the traditional diet of indigenous populations. (5) Survey and comparative assessment of pollution levels of the indigenous and general population in selected areas. (6) Dissemination of results to all relevant stakeholders.

GEF Catchment studies Contaminant transport Caribou Exposure Reindeer Dioxins/furans Sediments Pesticides persistent toxic substances Human intake Marine mammals Pathways Organochlorines PTS PCBs Soils Heavy metals Fish Indigenous people PAHs Long-range transport Spatial trends Terrestrial mammals Arctic Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Local pollution Seabirds Food webs Data management Diet Human health
56. Monitoring of residues in animal tissues

According to the national residue control programme heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury) and organochlorine compounds (HCH, HCB, DDT, PCB, etc) are analyzed from the samples. Investigations are done according to the Council Directive 96/23/EC.

PCBs Heavy metals Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Reindeer Diet Human health Human intake
57. Contaminants, food security and indigenous peoples in the Russian Barents Region

The objective of this project is to obtain a comprehensive and verifiable information on contaminant exposure of indigenous populations of the Russian Barents Region through aquatic food. Subgoals: To evaluate the contaminant uptakes for blood samples that have been collected by health workers from local indigenous populations, focusing on cord blood levels. To connect and integrate the project and protocols with the ongoing cord blood study of indigenous peoples of Alaska and Eastern Russia, lead by dr. Jim Berner and others in the region.

Indigenous people Contaminants Human health
58. Sociodemographic factors influencing nutrition and contaminant exposure in Nunavik

Risk determination for traditional food should consider the potential risks from exposure to contaminants and the sociocultural, nutritional, economic and spiritual benefits associated with traditional food. Factors which influence Inuit food choices should be further analyzed to add precision to the evaluation of risks and benefits of traditional food consumption. The data of the Nutrition Santé Québec Survey are a potential source for this type of analysis since data are available and are representative of the entire region of Nunavik. The proposed work consists of more detailed analysis of the existing data on food intake among the Inuit of Nunavik collected in 1992 during the Santé Québec Health Survey and to extend our analyses to contaminant intakes. Intakes (mean and median) of traditional and market foods, nutrients and contaminants will be calculated according to the makeup/structure of households, the level of education, the level of household income and coastal place of residence. Intakes will also calculated according to the social assistance status of Inuit. Among Inuit depending on social assistance, comparisons of food, nutrient and contaminant intakes according to the time of the month in which the survey took place will be examined. Statistical comparisons of food intakes will also be done between Inuit who stated having lacked food in the month prior to the survey and those who did not. Nutrient intakes will be compared with daily recommended nutrient intakes (RNI) based on nutritional recommendations issued by Health Canada. More detailed and reliable information regarding sociodemographic factors affecting food intake, nutritional status and contaminant exposure among Inuit will help to orient public health authorities in the promotion of health through traditional food consumption.

Populations PCBs Heavy metals Indigenous people Long-range transport Exposure Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Data management Diet Human health Human intake
59. Mercury in Salluit : phase 2 : Effects of mercury on oxydative status and sensorimotor functions

Among all contaminants present in different aquatic ecosystems in Canada, methylmercury (MeHg) is a major source of concern for public health. Currently, it is difficult to reliably determine the threshold of MeHg concentration at which functional changes occur. On the other hand, it is well known that chronic MeHg exposure is very harmful for the nervous system. Oxidative reactions appear to be of central importance to mercury toxicity. Therefore, it is important and urgent to determine with precision the minimal dose at which oxidative stress and neurotoxic effects can be identified since some studies suggest that MeHg toxicity can be detected at level far below the minimal exposure level proposed by the World Health Organization. The main goal of this project is to investigate the effects of mercury on sensorimotor functions in the population of Salluit. We will examine the relationship between the level of MeHg and sensorimotor performance. Afterwards, specific recommendations based on quantitative evidence will be made to the concerned populations so as to diminish long-term risk on health.

Biological effects Populations Heavy metals Fish Indigenous people Exposure Diet Temporal trends Human health Human intake
60. Effects of prenatal exposure to OCs and mercury on the immune system of Inuit infants (year 3)

This study investigates possible detrimental effects on the immune system of Inuit infants which may be induced by prenatal and postnatal (breast feeding) exposure to persistent environmental contaminants such as organochlorine compounds. These substances accumulate in the body of Inuit women in part due to their consumption of sea mammal fat and can be transferred to the foetus during pregnacy and to the infant during breast feeding. Immune system function will be evaluated using several parameters: 1) the level of antibody produced by the infant following Haemophilus influenza immunization; 2) the level of proteins which protect the infant against bacterial infections (complement system) before its immune system is fully developed; and 3) the level of chemical messengers (cytokines) which enable the various cells of the immune system to communicate with each other, thereby maintaining its proper function and assuring the protection of the infant against bacteria, parasitic and viral infections.

Organochlorines Inuit infants mercury vitamin A prenatal exposure assessment Human health