Legacy and emerging organic contaminants in the polar regions


The presence of numerous emerging organic contaminants (EOCs) and remobilization of legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in polar regions have become significant concerns of the scientific communities, public groups and stakeholders. This work reviews the occurrences of EOCs and POPs and their long-range environmental transport (LRET) processes via atmosphere and ocean currents from continental sources to polar regions. Concentrations of classic POPs have been systematically monitored in air at several Arctic stations and showed seasonal variations and declining trends. These chemicals were also the major POPs reported in the Antarctica, while their concentrations were lower than those in the Arctic, illustrating the combination of remoteness and lack of potential local sources for the Antarctica. EOCs were investigated in air, water, snow, ice and organisms in the Arctic. Data in the Antarctica are rare. Reemission of legacy POPs and EOCs accumulated in glaciers, sea ice and snow may alter the concentrations and amplify their effects in polar regions. Thus, future research will need to understand the various biogeochemical and geophysical processes under climate change and anthropogenic pressures.
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