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Year: 2021
Project manager: ida.beathe.overjordet@sintef.no

Arctic pollution research and governance studies traditionally focus on the long-distance transport of contaminants from industrialized southern regions of Europe and elsewhere, to the pristine uninhabited Arctic, including the communities of Longyearbyen, Barentsburg, Hornsund and Ny-Ålesund on Svalbard. Increasing populations and tourist visitors is followed by an increase in human waste that contain i.a. pharmaceuticals and personal care product (PPCPs) residues. PPCPs are usually released via sewage effluents into the aquatic environment. Due to the potential effects of PPCPs adding strain to its already stressed ecosystem, it is important to understand the PPCP levels that organisms are exposed to in the Arctic. Regulations of pharmaceuticals have naturally been focused on healthcare while ignoring potential adverse environmental impacts. Concurrently, few regulations regarding human waste disposal in the Arctic are enforced. This is mainly due to the low population in the region and the difficulties surrounding waste treatment technologies in the remote cold environment. PharmArctic will demonstrate the PPCP exposure levels in Arctic marine organisms, which can be used in future regulations regarding waste disposal in the region. This information combined with studies on the effects of PPCP can help incentivize policy makers to increase regulations to protect the Arctic environment.

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