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Study: arctic mammals can metabolize some pesticides, limits human exposure
Date:8/6/2014

Fortunately, you are not always what you eat at least in Canada's Arctic.

New research from the University of Guelph reveals that arctic mammals such as caribou can metabolize some current-use pesticides (CUPs) ingested in vegetation.

This limits exposures in animals that consume the caribou including humans.

"This is good news for the wildlife and people of the Arctic who survive by hunting caribou and other animals," said Adam Morris, a PhD student in the School of Environmental Sciences and lead author of the study published recently in Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry.

"The lack of any significant biomagnification through the food chain indicates that there is very little risk of harm from exposure to these CUPs in this region."

Pesticides or heavy metals enter rivers or lakes and vegetation, where they are ingested by fish and mammals and, in turn, are consumed by other animals and humans. The substances can become biomagnified, or concentrated in tissues and internal organs, as they move up the food chain.

Biomagnification has been implicated as the cause of higher concentrations of many long-used pesticides and other toxic chemicals such as PCBs found in wildlife and in Inuit and other aboriginal and non-aboriginal Northerners dependent on hunting, Morris said.

Such "legacy contaminants" are now widely banned under the Stockholm Convention, he said. But some have been replaced by CUPs, and few studies have looked at whether they also biomagnify.

Morris focused on studying the Bathurst region of the Canadian Arctic, working with Guelph toxicology professor emeritus Keith Solomon, adjunct professor Derek Muir, and collaborators from Environment Canada's Aquatic Contaminants Research Division.

They examined the vegetation-caribou-wolf food chain in the area, where the presence of other organic contaminants such as legacy pesticides and fluorinated surfactants sugge
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Contact: Adam Morris
adam.morris@ec.gc.ca
289-259-6089
University of Guelph
Source:Eurekalert

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