Geographical variation of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) was studied in blood samples from 90 adult female polar bear (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, Kara Sea, East-Siberian Sea and Chukchi Sea. In all regions, oxychlordane was the dominant OCP. Regional differences in mean levels of HCB, oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor, ??-HCH, ??-HCH and p,p???-DDE were found. The highest levels of oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor and DDE were found in polar bears from Franz Josef Land and Kara Sea. HCB level was lowest in polar bears from Svalbard. Polar bears from Chukchi Sea had the highest level of ??- and ??-HCH. The lowest ??-HCH concentration was found in bears from Kara Sea. In all the bears, ???HCHs was dominated by ??-HCH. The geographical variation in OCP levels and pattern may suggest regional differences in pollution sources and different feeding habits in the different regions. Polar bears from the Western Russian Arctic were exposed to higher levels of chlordanes and p,p???-DDE than polar bears from locations westwards and eastwards from this region. This may imply the presence of a significant pollution source in the Russian Arctic area. The study suggests that the western Russian Arctic is the most contaminated region of the Arctic and warrants further research. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.