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Climate Change Impacts on Environmental and Human Exposure to Mercury in the Arctic

NILU-Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Department of Environmental Impacts and Economics, Instituttveien 18, P.O. Box 100, NO-2027 Kjeller, Norway
Department of Analytical Chemistry, Gdansk University of Technology, Chemical Faculty, PL 80-952, Gdansk, Poland
Center for Arctic Medicine, Thule Institute, P.O. Box 7300, University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Michael E. Goodsite and Hans Sanderson
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(4), 3579-3599;
Received: 29 January 2015 / Revised: 4 March 2015 / Accepted: 13 March 2015 / Published: 31 March 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Climate Change and Contaminants)
This paper reviews information from the literature and the EU ArcRisk project to assess whether climate change results in an increase or decrease in exposure to mercury (Hg) in the Arctic, and if this in turn will impact the risks related to its harmful effects. It presents the state-of-the art of knowledge on atmospheric mercury emissions from anthropogenic sources worldwide, the long-range transport to the Arctic, and it discusses the likely environmental fate and exposure effects on population groups in the Arctic under climate change conditions. The paper also includes information about the likely synergy effects (co-benefits) current and new climate change polices and mitigation options might have on mercury emissions reductions in the future. The review concludes that reductions of mercury emission from anthropogenic sources worldwide would need to be introduced as soon as possible in order to assure lowering the adverse impact of climate change on human health. Scientific information currently available, however, is not in the position to clearly answer whether climate change will increase or decrease the risk of exposure to mercury in the Arctic. New research should therefore be undertaken to model the relationships between climate change and mercury exposure. View Full-Text
Keywords: mercury; climate change; Arctic; Europe; policymaking; exposure; health mercury; climate change; Arctic; Europe; policymaking; exposure; health
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Sundseth, K.; Pacyna, J.M.; Banel, A.; Pacyna, E.G.; Rautio, A. Climate Change Impacts on Environmental and Human Exposure to Mercury in the Arctic. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 3579-3599.

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