NArFU scientists conduct biological monitoring in the Arctic
The Arctic Biomonitoring Laboratory has brought together chemists, biologists, doctors, lawyers from all over the world to monitor, evaluate, predict and prevent the risks associated with the spread of highly toxic pollutants in the Arctic ecosystems. Laboratory staff comprehensively and comprehensively study the relationship between the state of the environment and human health.
Arctic biomonitoring laboratory appeared in the walls of NArFU them. M.V. Lomonosov in 2017 as part of a grant from the Government of the Russian Federation to support scientific research conducted under the leadership of leading scientists in Russian educational institutions of higher professional education.
“We created the laboratory completely from scratch, there were no similar projects in NArFU. There was experience in the field of environmental monitoring, but it did not cover work with biological samples, and neither migratory species of birds and fish, nor human biomaterials were conducted. The main feature of our project is that we have integrated environmental monitoring and human health monitoring under one roof. Today, the Arctic Biomonitoring Laboratory is not just a laboratory room, it is actually the center of competence for biological monitoring of the Arctic, which attracts other projects and scientists from various fields, ”said Tatyana Sorokina, Head of the Arctic Biomonitoring Laboratory of NArFU.
The Arctic Biomonitoring Laboratory is actively interacting with the North-West Center for Hygiene and Public Health in St. Petersburg, which operates under the Federal Service for Supervision of Human Health and Human Welfare. I.I. Mechnikov in St. Petersburg, Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Leading scientist of the Laboratory Ingvar Thomassen is a professor at the National Institute of Occupational Health in Oslo (Norway). Scientists from Canada, Switzerland, South Korea and others are also involved in the project.
Under the leadership of Ingvar Tomassen, Laboratory specialists conduct analytical work on the content of inorganic pollutants in biological objects, in particular in fish. As Ingvar Thomassen notes, contaminants have the most serious effect on the mental development of children. “One of the main objectives of the study is to measure the content of highly toxic substances in species that are used by indigenous peoples of the north,” says Professor Thomassen. The fish, dairy and meat products that enter our stores undergo state checks, but nobody checks and controls what indigenous peoples of the north eat.
In addition to harmful substances, in the north there are so-called deficiencies of trace elements, in particular, iodine and iron. As Professor Thomassen notes, if a deficiency of vital elements is observed in the human body, the health consequences are the same as from exposure to pollutants or worse. “Groups of foods that are rich in iodine are fish, milk, and dairy products. However, not every fish is suitable. In the first place in terms of iodine content is cod. At the same time, the population of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug even eat fish in which iodine has the lowest concentration, ”said Ingvar Tomassen.
It is natural that harm to health is caused not only by the thoughtless eating of everything edible, but also by excessive reinsurance and the exclusion of certain types of foods from the diet.
“People who began to think about a healthy lifestyle say that the fish has a lot of mercury and various persistent organic pollutants. As a rule, the content of pollutants is so small that the positive effect of eating fish is greater than the negative effect of toxins. Of course, there are exceptions. On the one hand, toxins in fatty fish can cause cancer, but in simple terms, their percentage is one in a million. If you reduce fish consumption or eliminate it altogether, iodine deficiency, omega 3 will have an even greater negative effect, for example, in the form of cardiovascular diseases, ”the professor concludes.
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