Toxaphene and Other Organochlorines in Arctic Ocean Fauna: Evidence for Atmospheric Delivery


  • T.F. Bidleman
  • G.W. Patton
  • M.D. Walla
  • B.T. Hargrave
  • W.P. Vass
  • P. Erickson
  • B. Fowler
  • V. Scott
  • D.J. Gregor



Air pollution, Amphipoda, Atmospheric chemistry, Biomagnification, Environmental impacts, Food chain, Marine fauna, Marine pollution, Organochlorines, Pesticides, Pollution, Snow, Toxicity, HCH, Toxaphene, PCBs, HCB, Chlordanes, CHBs, Chromatography, Arctic Ocean, Axel Heiberg Island waters, Nunavut, Canadian Arctic, Devon Island


Residues of the insecticide toxaphene (polychlorinated camphenes, PCCs) and other organochlorines (OCs) were determined in air, snow, seawater, zooplankton, and benthic amphipods collected from an ice island in the Canadian Arctic. The simultaneous determination of OCs in the atmospheric, hydrologic, and biologic compartments provided evidence of an atmospheric link to polar food chains. PCCs were identified and quantified using capillary gas chromatography - negative ion mass spectrometry. The order of OCs abundance in arctic air was: hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) > hexachlorobenzene > PCCs > polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) > chlordanes > DDTs. In seawater, PCCs were exceeded only by the HCHs. Concentrations of PCBs and PCCs in two samples of benthic amphipods were the highest of the OCs detected.

Key words: Arctic, Canada, pollution, organochlorines, air, water, biota