Assessment of spatial and temporal patterns of HCH isomers in the arctic environment

Updated 2015-09-11

In order to assess the spatial and temporal patterns of the a-, b- and g-isomers of hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) in the arctic biotic and abiotic environment, it is proposed that: (1) concentrations and ratios of HCH isomers be compared over time in air, water, seals, beluga, polar bears and seabirds to determine any shifts in isomeric ratios and how those shifts interrelate among the various media, and (2) concentrations and ratios of HCH isomers be compared spatially in the abiotic and biotic media and reasons for any patterns explored.

This is a National Implementation Plan (NIP) project

Time frame

Project time span
2000 - 2002
Data collection
2000 - 2001
Data processing
2000 - 2002
Data reporting
2001 - 2002

Contact information

Contact person
Birgit Braune
Environment Canada National Wildlife Research Centre Carleton University (Raven Road) Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1A 0H3
+1 613 998-6694
+1 613 998-0458
Other project contacts
Derek Muir National Water Research Institute Environment Canada Burlington, Ontario Canada Ph: (905) 319-6921, Fax: (905) 336-6430, E-mail:

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Marine benthos
Marine fish
Marine mammals
Marine sediments
Seawater/suspended particulate matter


Regions studied
Arctic Ocean - Canadian Basin
Canadia, Arctic Islands
Stations or areas where observations are made


Data availability

Are data archived or planned to be archived at an AMAP Thematic Data Centre?
If no (or only part of data are reported to a TDC), where and how are (other) data stored?
Data are archived in Excel spreadsheet format and will be made available to the AMAP via the designated Canadian experts.
References to key publications (or planned publications) and data reports
Barrie, L.A., R. Macdonald, T. Bidleman, M. Diamond, D. Gregor, R. Semkin, W. Strachan, M. Alaee, S. Backus, M. Bewers, C. Gobeil, C. Halsall, J. Hoff, A. Li, L. Lockhart, D. Mackay, D. Muir, J. Pudykiewicz, K. Reimer, J. Smith, G. Stern, W. Schroeder, R. Wagemann, F. Wania and M. Yunker. 1997. Chap. 2. Sources, occurrence and pathways. In: Jensen, J., K. Adair and R. Shearer (eds.). Canadian Arctic Contaminants Assessment Report. Ministry of Public Works and Government Services, Ottawa, QS-8525-000-EE-A1, Catalog No. R72-260/1997E, ISBN 0-662-25704-9, pages 25-182. Falconer, R.L., T.F. Bidleman and D.J. Gregor. 1995. Air-water gas exchange and evidence for metabolism of HCHs in Resolute Bay, N.W.T. Sci. Total Environ. 160/161: 65-74. Halstall, C.T., R. Bailey, G.A. Stern, L.A. Barrie, P. Fellin, D.C.G. Muir, B. Rosenberg, F. Rovinski, E. Konovov and B. Pastukhov. 1998. Multiyear observations of organohalogen pesticides in the Arctic atmosphere. Environ. Pollut. 102: 51-62. Hargrave, B.T., L.A. Barrie, T.F. Bidleman and H.E. Welch. 1997. Seasonality in exchange of organochlorines between arctic air and seawater. Environ. Sci. Technol. 31: 3258-3266. Harner, T., H. Kylin, T.F. Bidleman and W.M.J. Strachan. 1999. Removal of a- and g-HCHs and the enantiomers of a-HCH in the eastern Arctic Ocean. nviron. Sci. Technol. 33: 1157-1164. Jantunen, L.M. and T.F. Bidleman. 1995. Reversal of the air-water gas exchange direction of hexachlorocyclohexanes in the Bering and Chukchi Seas: 1993 vs. 1998. Environ. Sci. Technol. 29:1081-1089. Jantunen, L.M. and T.F. Bidleman. 1996. Air-water gas exchange of HCHs and the enantiomers of a-HCH in arctic waters. J. Geophys. Res. 101: 28837-28846; corrections Ibid. 102: 19279-19292. Jantunen, L.M.M. and T.F. Bidleman. 1998. Organochlorine pesticides and enantiomers of chiral pesticides in Arctic Ocean water. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 35: 218-228. Jantunen, L.M.M. and T.F. Bidleman. 1999. Henry’s law constant for technical toxaphene. Chemosphere, in press. Kucklick, J., D.A. Hinckley and T.F. Bidleman. 1991. Determination of Henry’s law constant for hexachlorocyclohexanes as a function of temperature in distilled water and seawater. Mar. Chem. 34:197-209. Li, Y.-F., L.A. Barrie, T.F. Bidleman and L.L. McConnell. 1998a. Global HCH use trends and their impact on the arctic atmospheric environment. Geophys. Res. Lett. 25: 39-41. Li, Y.-F., D.J. Cai and A. Singh. 1998b. Technical HCH use trends in China and their impact on the environment. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 35: 688-697. Muir, D.C.G., R.J. Norstrom and M. Simon. 1988. Organochlorine contaminants in arctic marine food chains: Accumulation of specific PCB and chlordane-related compounds. Environ. Sci. Technol. 22, 1071-1079. Ngabe, B., T.F. Bidleman and R.L. Falconer. 1993. Base hydrolysis of a- and g-hexachlorocyclohexane. Environ. Sci. Technol. 27:1930-1933.
Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?
Specimen banking information


Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.


Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Other institutes involved in the project

Freshwater Institute, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Winnipeg Institute for Ocean Sciences, Fisheries & Oceans, Sidney Bedford Institute for Oceanography, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Dartmouth National Water Research Institute, Environment Canada, Burlington Meteorological Service, Environment Canada, Downsview

Is this project reporting to other organizations/programmes?

Canadian Northern Contaminants Program

Indigenous AND traditional knowledge used in this project

Indigenous or traditional knowledge is employed in this project for some components

Other related projects

Project is related to other projects registered in this directory

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