We determined concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlordanes (CHLORs), chlorobenzenes (CBzs), hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs), and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its metabolites (DDD and DDE) in the tissues of individual polar bears (Ursus maritimus) before and after a lengthy period of fasting. Polar bears are an ideal model for such studies. They undergo one of the most extreme fasts known for any mammal and are located at the top of a long food chain, thus biomagnification of organochlorines (OC) is significant. Adipose tissue and milk were collected from different reproductive classes of adult females (solitary/pregnant, with cubs-of-the-year, with yearling cubs) and were analyzed for organochlorine content. As the fasting period progressed and adipose reserves decreased, concentrations of some organochlorines in the adipose tissue and milk increased on a lipid weight basis. The transfer of contaminants from mothers to offspring thus also increases with duration of the fasting period. This phenomenon could adversely influence the survival and growth of cubs during the critical early phase of their development.