Dr. Jan Bottenheim talks about snow chemistry

Video Shot in: 2009

Dr. Jan Willem Bottenheim discusses the significance of snow chemistry and the transport of toxic chemicals in the Arctic. He emphasizes the presence of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as pesticides that are toxic and resistant to degradation. These pollutants can vaporize and travel through the air, eventually reaching the Arctic region. Dr. Bottenheim highlights the improvements in technology that allow for better measurements and monitoring of these pollutants. He also mentions the direct impact of banning certain chemicals, such as the decline in DDT levels after China and India implemented bans. The “grasshopper effect” is described, where pollutants cycle between the air and the ground, leading to their accumulation in Arctic ecosystems. Dr. Bottenheim notes the concerning levels of pollutants found in the blood of Inuit communities, which exceed acceptable limits set by organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO). He emphasizes the importance of scientific data to support efforts in international agreements, like the Stockholm Convention, which aim to ban the use of toxic substances that pose a threat to the Arctic.