Several contaminants associated with global industrial activities enter the region through long-range transport by air or by sea. In addition, naturally-occurring substances such as some metals and some forms of radioactivity have been found to accumulate in food chains to high levels in organs of some northern animals.
Studies over the past six years conducted through Canada's Arctic Environmental Strategy have identified the main long-range-transport contaminant issues in the Northern Yukon and surrounding areas. These studies have provided good data sets on many species and tissue types, but there is as yet little time-trend information.
This list shows the main contaminants that have been studied in the ecosystems of the Northern Yukon and surrounding areas, along with the main types of plants or animals and tissues in which they tend to accumulate to highest levels.