The potential impact of climate on human exposure to contaminants in the Arctic
Kraemer, Lisa D.
Berner, James E.
Furgal, Christopher M.
- Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
International Journal of Circumpolar Health
(issn: 1797-237X, eissn: 1239-9736)
climate change, indigenous people, Inuit, models, traditional food
Many northern indigenous populations are exposed to elevated concentrations of contaminants through traditional food and many of these contaminants come from regions exterior to the Arctic. Global contaminant pathways include the atmosphere, ocean currents, and river outflow, all of which are affected by climate. In addition to these pathways, precipitation, animal availability, UV radiation, cryosphere degradation and human industrial activities in the North are also affected by climate change. The processes governing contaminant behaviour in both the physical and biological environment are complex and therefore, in order to understand how climate change will affect the exposure of northern people to contaminants, we must have a better understanding of the processes that influence how contaminants behave in the Arctic environment. Furthermore, to predict changes in contaminant levels, we need to first have a good understanding of current contaminant levels in the Arctic environment, biota and human populations. For this reason, it is critical that both spatial and temporal trends in contaminant levels are monitored in the environment, biota and human populations from all the Arctic regions.(Int J Circumpolar Health 2005; 64(5):498-508)Keywords: climate change, indigenous people, Inuit, models, traditional food