ORONO (NEWS CENTER Maine) — A research assistant professor at the University of Maine recently found pesticide pollutants in a remote Alaskan glacier and its meltwater, the university announced Monday.

Kimberley Miner, a UMaine alumnae and member of the school's Climate Change Institute, led a team of researchers that analyzed ice core and meltwater samples from Jarvis Glacier. Their findings — "Organochlorine Pollutants within a Polythermal Glacier in the Interior Alaska Range" — were published in late August in the journal Water.

According to the university, it's the first data that has been compiled on organochlorine compounds (OCPs) in an Alaskan alpine glacier.

Miner said the DDT was likely transported there in the atmosphere from Asia, where it's still used to prevent malaria.

Concentrations of the toxins in Jarvis Glacier are low, Miner said, but the chance of the pollutants being absorbed by animals and fish may increase as the melting continues. That means people in the region who rely exclusively on fish from local streams could face potential health impacts.

"Though OCPs are only one contributor to emergent pollution within glacial ecosystems," Miner said, "they form part of a greater picture of the long-term fingerprint humans have left on even the most remote locations."

According to the university, pesticides that contain OCPs are banned in many countries because exposure can result in fatigue, headache, nausea, blurry vision, tremors, confusion, cancer, coma and death.

In addition to Miner, the research team included UMaine's Karl Kreutz, Seth Campbell, Christopher Gerbi, Brian Perkins and Steven Bernsen; the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Anna Liljedahl and Tiffany Gatesman; and Husson University's Therese Anderson.