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Year: 2020
Project manager: Anne Karine Halse
Project code: 508 702019

Local pollution from industrial development and increasing human presence in Svalbard is an important challenge for the pristine Arctic environment. Preservation of Arctic environment is fundamental to support a sustainable local socio-economic development and for the continuity of scientific research activities. Previous studies by NILU and NIVA have demonstrated populated zones in Svalbard to be strong local emission sources of new organic pollutants, i.e. chlorinated paraffins and novel flame retardants, previously believed to reach the Arctic only through long-range transport. Presence of local sources of toxic, persistent and bio-accumulative pollutants in Svalbard may have serious implications on its vulnerable environment and threaten the role of Svalbard as a unique hub for Arctic environmental research, monitoring and assessments on pollution. Alternative reference areas with the same unique features cannot be found in the European Arctic.
Air is a significant source for human exposure to new organic pollutants. This project aims at identifying sites (i.e. residential/public buildings, industrial activities, transport facilities) causing the observed emissions of new organic pollutants. Further, elucidate whether findings in the collected samples pose endocrine and/or genotoxic disrupting potential. We will in addition explore how a sample of the affected population perceive risk from air pollution, which will be useful in devising measures to reduce risk and help to protect human health as well as the Arctic environment. The goal is to obtain and disseminate essential knowledge to contribute to a better understanding on the importance of and how to minimize the anthropic (human) environmental footprint.

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