Project Listing

Changing Environment & Human Health
Title: Research & Action Plan for Human Health Risk Reduction in the Arctic (Human Health Risk Reduction in the Arctic) eoi

Summary of Activity

Although the latitude-dependent increase of POP levels in the Arctic regions are confirmed by many international studies, the ecotoxicologic consequences still remain largely unknown. The high levels of contaminants in the Arctic have already caused serious concerns of the health conditions of indigenous populations. Human reproduction appears to be especially vulnerable to high levels of certain contaminants such as PCBs. Indigenous Arctic women experiencing the relative low PCB exposure (as measured in serum over 2.0 micrograms per liter) are reported to be at increased risk of adverse outcomes of pregnancy (AMAP, 2004). Taking into consideration that the WHO recommended level of concern for PCB blood contamination is if 20 micrograms per liter, one may suggest that this phenomenon is resulted from either increased susceptibility of indigenous people to PCBs or from combined effect of contaminants and specific arctic environmental stressors or both. The harsh Arctic climate, in particular the cold, is capable of modifying the health effect induced by some inorganic toxicants, vibration and physical strain. In the meantime, next to nothing is known about the interaction between cold stress and human exposures of particular contaminants. Currently there is a common understanding of that POPs must be reduced at source. Assertive and far-reaching implementation plans are required. The main objective is to elaborate a scientifically sound, economically feasible and ethically acceptable action plan to reduce health risks associated with combined exposures of persistent contaminants and environmental stressors including geophysical and climatic factors with special emphasis to indigenous people. The project is intended to study the possibility of unusual toxicity due to interaction of a multitude of contaminants and environmental stressors at exposure levels that are generally considered harmless for individuals. A tool for better understanding the combined effects of environmental stressors and contaminants is the conduct of studies of genetic polymorphism and related proteomic profiles in arctic populations in order to describe individual susceptibility to adverse effects caused by contaminants. Identification of reliable and applicable biomarkers of exposure is also to be studied in order to estimate the validity of assumption of effect. Evaluation of the combined effect of environmental stressors and global contaminants in the Arctic requires additional information viz. experimental modeling, health statistics, epidemiological, nutritional and socio-economic data. Evaluation of anticipated health effects associated with the combined exposure requires information from different types of study including – modeling of effect at molecular and cellular levels; - assessment of genetic susceptibility; - identification of relevant and validated biomarkers of exposure and effects; - identification of areas of increased risk; - lifestyle characterization; - health status evaluation; - description of socio-economic conditions – assessment of exposure to environmental contaminants.


Lead Contact
Dr. Boris Morgunov
Ministry of Economic Development and Trade
Russian Federation
34, Novyi Arbat, Moscow

Tel: +7 495 209 8525
Mobile: no
Fax: +7 495 200 5900

ID number: EOI 1113
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