Alaska is the only U.S. state in the Arctic, which is a hemispheric sink for persistent chemicals that are carried northward on wind and ocean currents—these include legacy chemicals such as PCBs and DDT, but also current industrial chemicals such as brominated flame retardants and perfluorinated substances. These chemicals accumulate in the tissues of wildlife and people. Arctic Indigenous Peoples carry some of the highest body burdens of certain persistent pollutants of any population on earth because of their reliance on traditional diets of fish and marine mammals. People in the north may also have higher indoor exposures to harmful chemicals because their homes are closed in for a greater part of the year. Even though many people think of Alaska as pristine, Alaska has over 2,000 toxic waste sites from military and industrial operations. Alaska has the highest rate of birth defects in the nation, as well as high rates of diabetes and cancers.
Alaska Community Action on Toxics