Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) - Sellers Final Report 2014

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Human and Ecological Health in Grassy Narrows First Nation, Final Report. Prepared by Patricia Sellers, PhD

Transcript of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) - Sellers Final Report 2014

  • HUMAN AND ECOLOGICAL HEALTH IN ASUBPEESCHOSEEWAGONG NETUM ANISHINABEK

    (GRASSY NARROWS FIRST NATION)

    report prepared for the ANA-Ontario Mercury Working Group

    prepared by Patricia Sel lers, PhD December 2014

    FINAL REPORT

  • Human and Ecological Health in Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek, December 2014

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    The government is not a very trusted steward of the land. Theyve had a hundred and forty one years, since we signed the Treaty with them, to prove that they are a good steward of the landthey continue to license industry to extract resources from our land with devastating results...it is all broken trust. Chief Roger Fobister, Sr.

    Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek

  • Human and Ecological Health in Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek, December 2014

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    Correct c itat ion for this document: Sellers, P. 2014. Human and Ecological Health in Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation). Report prepared for the ANA-Ontario Mercury Working Group. 61 p +

    appendices.

  • Human and Ecological Health in Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek, December 2014

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    Acknowledgements I would like to thank members of the ANA-Ontario Mercury Working Group for the opportunity to do this work. I have learned much and am better for itI hope that reciprocity is found in its utility. I

    would also like to thank the group and its colleagues, who procured, borrowed, found, scanned, retrieved, sent, and submitted files and documents as part of the necessary and first centralization process. I thank Anna Sanford for her vital assistance in this step and in the creation of a digital

    database. I thank everyone who provided feedback on the interim report.

  • Human and Ecological Health in Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek, December 2014

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    FOREWARD

    The people of Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (ANA, also known as Grassy Narrows First Nation) were poisoned by mercury released into the Wabigoon-English River system in the 1960s. The source was the uncontrolled discharge of effluent from a chlor-alkali plant upstream at Dryden,

    Ontario. Since that time, there have been many, many studies on the effects of this discharge on both the river system and the people. The published work of those studies is contained largely within reports and journal articles that date back to the early 1970s.

    My task was to review all the available and published work related to human and ecological health with respect to ANA and to provide a synthesis. The bulk of this report is thus two sections: Human

    Health Research to Date and Ecological Health Research to Date. I was also asked to identify gaps in the published work and a make a list of recommendations for next steps and/or future studies. The gaps and recommendations are the practical components of this report and, at the request of the

    ANA-Ontario Mercury Working Group, are presented first. Throughout the report, and where necessary, I drew from outside literature to provide context and to help propel ongoing or revived discussions.

    Readers should be mindful that this report is a reflection of the relevant information available and in published form, and available at the time of writing. What is not included are a) community-based observations, information, and knowledge that are not published, b) studies that are underway or not yet published c) media publications and d) publications not obtainable within the timeframe of this task. As such readers are encouraged, where possible, to supplement, update, or revise this

    document with relevant information that s/he has access to.

    TestHighlight

  • Human and Ecological Health in Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek, December 2014

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    CONTENTS

    FOREWARD ..................................................................................................................................... iv 1. RECOMMENDATIONS .................................................................................................................. 1

    For Human Health Initiatives ........................................................................................................ 1 For ecological Health Initiatives .................................................................................................... 2 For Education and Awareness Initiatives ..................................................................................... 3 For design and implementation of research initiatives ............................................................... 4

    2. GAPS ............................................................................................................................................ 5 GAPs Research Methods ............................................................................................................... 6 GAPS In Communication, Education and Awareness ................................................................... 8 GAPS In Information and Knowledge ........................................................................................... 9

    Human Health ........................................................................................................................ 9 Ecological Health .................................................................................................................. 12

    3. HUMAN HEALTH RESEARCH TO DATE ....................................................................................... 15 Evidence of mercury exposure: blood and hair levels of mercury ............................................ 15 Exposure and Development of Symptoms ................................................................................. 16 Symptoms of mercury Poisoning in Adults ................................................................................ 17 Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning in Children and Infants ......................................................... 18 Childhood Development ............................................................................................................. 18 Incidence of Mortality and Disease ............................................................................................ 19 Health Services ............................................................................................................................ 19 Diet .............................................................................................................................................. 19 Fish consumption advisories ...................................................................................................... 22 Effectiveness of fish consumption advisories ............................................................................ 23

    4. STATE OF HUMAN HEALTH ........................................................................................................ 25 Community Health ...................................................................................................................... 25

    5. ECOLOGICAL HEALTH RESEARCH TO DATE ................................................................................ 27 Mercury Studies .......................................................................................................................... 28

    Joint study by Canada and Ontario research teams in the late 1970s ............................... 28 Mercury in fish ..................................................................................................................... 29 Mercury in crayfish ............................................................................................................... 31 Mercury in sediment ............................................................................................................ 32 Mercury in water .................................................................................................................. 34 Mercury in birds ................................................................................................................... 34 Mercury in many wild foods ................................................................................................ 35

    Studies of contaminants other than mercury ............................................................................ 37 Non-mercury contaminants in wild foods ........................................................................... 37 Contaminants causing intersex fish in the Wabigoon River ................................................ 39 Field observations of water quality ..................................................................................... 40

    The Whiskey Jack Forest ............................................................................................................. 40 Traplines ............................................................................................................................... 41 Field observations by trappers and hunters ........................................................................ 42

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    6. STATE OF ECOLOGICAL HEALTH ................................................................................................ 43 Health of the Water .................................................................................................................... 43

    Current levels of sediment mercury and Sediment Water Quality Guidelines .................. 43 Current levels of crayfish mercury and Tissue Residue Guidelines ............................