It's official: a new study released Monday confirms a link between environmental contaminants from tar sands production and cancer in First Nations communities.
"Upstream development and environmental decline are affecting cancer occurrence," concludes the report, released by the Athabasca Chipewyan and Mikisew Cree First Nations in collaboration with researchers at the University of Manitoba.
"Thus, cancer occurrence increased significantly with participant employment in the Oil Sands and with the increased consumption of traditional foods and locally caught fish."
High levels of arsenic, mercury, cadmium and selenium were found in wildlife harvested around Fort Chipewyan, including ducks, muskrats, moose and beavers. The presence of these contaminants, linked to bitumen extraction, "compromises the integrity of the environment and wildlife, which in turn adversely affects human health and well being," says the report, which was peer reviewed by Health Canada and other health and environmental agencies.
Here are 3 graphs that show what's going on:
1. High levels of carcinogens found in harvested wildlife...
2. Which is leading to Increased cancer rates in small First Nations communities (23 types of cancers reported by 94 survey participants).
3. This is what that looks like:
Photo: Environmental and Human Health Implications of Athabasca Oil Sands, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Mikisew Cree First Nation with Environmental Conservation Laboratory, University of Manitoba.