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Scientific journal publication

Combined Contaminant Levels from Local Harvested Food Items in the Norwegian–Finnish–Russian Border Region

Nalbandyan-Schwarz, Anna; Pedersen, Kristine Bondo; Evenset, Anita; Heimstad, Eldbjørg Sofie; Sandanger, Torkjel; Myllynen, Päivi; Rautio, Arja

Publication details

Journal: Resources, vol. 13, 54, 2024

Doi: doi.org/10.3390/resources13040054

This paper presents the results of a multidisciplinary study with the aim of assessing the potential combined risk from consuming locally harvested food products in the Euro-Arctic region of Norway, Finland, and Russia. The three important contaminant groups—radioactive substances, heavy metals, and persistent organic pollutants (POPs)—were measured in food samples such as berries, mushrooms, fish, birds, reindeer, and moose; they were sampled in 2013–2015. To assess the combined pollution levels and investigate the trends, similarities, and variations between different contaminant groups, subsequent multivariate statistical analysis was performed. The results showed that, in general, the levels of radioactive substances, toxic elements, and POPs were below the permitted EU maximum content in food products. However, statistical analysis revealed some correlations, similarities, and peculiarities between the accumulation of different contaminants in various species, which allowed for a better understanding of the mechanisms of accumulation and interaction between different contaminant groups. It also gave a better insight into the possible added risks and helped pinpoint species that could serve as reference markers for the accumulation of different contaminants in food. Mushrooms, fish, and reindeer were found to be important markers in the combined risk assessments for the contents of metals and radioactive substances. Further research, as well as the development of methodologies for combined assessments, are recommended.