The article is the second in the series of four that present the results of a study on environmental contaminants in coastal Chukotka, conducted in the context of a multi-disciplinary investigation of indigenous foodways in the region. The article presents the results of the analysis of legacy Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) found in the samples of locally harvested food and indoor matters, collected in 2016 in coastal Chukotka. Temporal trends and circumpolar comparisons of POPs in food have been carried out. Estimated daily intakes (EDIs) of POPs by local food consumption were calculated based on the food intake frequencies (questionnaire data). Concentrations of the studied legacy POPs in marine mammal blubber were relatively high (up to 100–200 µg/kg ww) but not exceeding the allowable limits. Gray whale blubber and whale mantak were the most contaminated foods, followed by the ringed, spotted and bearded seal blubber, then by walrus blubber and fermented walrus (deboned walrus parts aged in subterranean pits, typically over a period of 6 months). At the backdrop of general decrease or invariability (compared to the previous coastal Chukotka study 15 years ago) of the majority of POPs, an increasing tendency of HCB, mainly in marine mammals, were noted. Legacy POPs in marine mammals sampled in Chukotka were generally much lower than in those sampled in Alaska and northern Canada. We suggest that the Alaska Coastal Current from the Bering Sea plays a major role in this phenomenon. Analyses of the additional sources of in-home food contamination (home-brewed alcohol, domestic insecticides) have revealed relatively high levels of HCHs, DDTs and PCBs, which still represent a share of dietary exposure of local people to POPs.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited