Abstract The high levels of persistent organic pollutants have caused concern about human health, especially the health of the foetus and newborn child. This has especially been the case for Greenlandic and Canadian Inuits, where elevated levels of PCB and p,p′-DDE have been reported. In recent studies from arctic Russia the levels of β-HCH and the DDT-group have been reported to be high, whereas the levels of PCB are low. However, the information from Northern Russia is, so far, incomplete. In this study, 27 delivering women from the city of Arkhangelsk, Russia, participated. They completed a questionnaire before delivery and plasma samples were collected after delivery. The analytical method developed to support this study involved gel permeation chromatography and silica gel purification, in addition to a traditional GC-MS method, and thus include acid labile compounds. The arithmetic mean levels of p,p′-DDE, β-HCH and p,p′-DDT were 5.42, 3.59 and 1.17 μg/l, respectively. Toxaphene 26 and 50 were the only toxaphenes above the limit of detection, with arithmetic mean levels of 0.05 and 0.09 μg/l, respectively. Among the PCB congeners, PCB 138/163 was the most abundant with an arithmetic mean of 0.53 μg/l. The elevated levels of β-HCH and p,p′-DDT as well as a low DDE/DDT ratio is a strong indication of fresh and maybe local sources in this area.