Temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants and metals in ringed seals from the Canadian Arctic

Updated 2000-08-06

The objective of this project is to study long term temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants and mercury in ringed seals from the Canadian arctic. The project rationale is that there are previous results for POPs and mercury in ringed seal tissues for many locations. Furthermore there may be regional differences in temporal trends due to geographical differences in POPs and mercury in marine waters and food webs within the Canadian arctic. It is relatively cost efficient to return to the same locations for additional samples using the same sampling and anlaysis protocols are were used in previous studies (see AMAP and Canadian Assessment Reports). Samples are being collected with the help of hunters and trappers organizations in each community. During 2000-01 samples are being collected at Resolute, Arctic Bay and Pond Inlet. The study will also analyse samples collected recently (1998/99) from Pangnirtung, Arviat and Grise Fiord. Results will be compared with previous data which the Principal Investigator generated in the 1980's and early 1990's. Preliminary results will be available in mid-2001.

This is a National Implementation Plan (NIP) project

Time frame

Project time span
2000 -
Data collection
1998 -
Data processing
2000 -
Data reporting
2001 -

Contact information

Contact person
Derek C.G. Muir
National Water Research Institute Environment Canada 867 Lakeshore Road Burlington ON L7R4A6 Canada
+1 905-319-6921
+1 905-336-6430
Other project contacts
Dr. Michael Kwan Kuujjuaq Research Centre, Kuujjuaq, Que J0M 1CO; phone 819-964-2951 fax 819-964-2230. E-mail: istr2276@fox.nstn.ca

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Heavy metals
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Marine mammals
Additional information or further specification of types of data / information collected, species / tissues / organs sampled, etc.

blubber, liver, kidney, jaws for aging, etc


Regions studied
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

Data availability

Are data archived or planned to be archived at an AMAP Thematic Data Centre?
Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?
Specimen banking information

Samples are stored in chest freezers (-25C) at National Water Research Institute and a database (for internal use only) has been created to track use and storage location

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.

Muir, D.C.G., R.J. Norstrom and M. Simon. Organochlorine contaminants in arctic marine food chains: Accumulation of specific PCB and chlordane-related compounds. Environ. Sci. Technol. 22, 1071-1079, 1988. Muir, D., F. Riget, M. Cleemann, L. Kleivane, J. Skaare, H. Nakata, R. Dietz, T. Severinsen, and S. Tanabe. 2000. Circumpolar Trends of PCBs and Organochlorine Pesticides in the Arctic Marine Environment Inferred from Levels in Ringed Seals. Environ Sci Technol.34: 2431-2438. Muir, D., M. Kwan and J. Lampe. 1999. Spatial trends and pathways of POPs and Metals in fish, shellfish and marine mammals of Northern Labrador and Nunavik. NCP Synopsis Report on 1998-99. pp. 165-171.

QA/QC Information (what QA/QC procedures are implemented, laboratories involvment in QA/QC activities, model verification/validation routines, etc.)

Analyses of POPs are carried out using GC-ECD and GC-MS at the National Laboratory for Environmental Testing (www.cciw.ca). This is a ISO-9000 certified laboratory which participates in QUASIMEME as well as the Canadian NCP interlab QA program. Metals are analysed at the Kuujjuaqn Research Centre using AAS. This laboratory participates in the Canadian NCP interlab QA program.

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Is this project reporting to other organizations/programmes?

Nothern Contaminants Program, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indigenous AND traditional knowledge used in this project

Collection of individual animals relies on the knowledge and experience of individual hunters in each community. Each hunter is provided with a kit which includes sample bags, instructions for key measurements e.g. length, blubber thickness. Additional comments from the hunters such as body condition/appearance are encouraged.

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