Resources Grassy Narrows Drinking Water – Background Assessment: Information for the Ontario Regional Director-General. Grassy Narrows and Islington Indian Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Settlement Act (S.C. 1986, c. 23) Domtar told the Star it gave a copy of the report to the community in September. — Ontario’s NDP Leader was demanding answers from the Wynne government Wednesday regarding whether more mercury is seeping into the Wabigoon River near the Grassy Narrows First Nation. Newspapers Limited, One Yonge Street, 4th floor, Toronto, ON, M5E 1E6. Grassy Narrows First Nation, or the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation, is a small First Nations community in northwestern Ontario. Singapore gave its thumbs up to the chicken nuggets produced by Eat Just Inc. Grassy Narrows First Nation fears further mercury poisoning as Ford government ends assessments for clear-cut logging. All wells were near the Wabigoon River that flows downstream from Dryden, where the mill is located, to Grassy Narrows. Like we are not worth it to be alive,” said Da Silva. Simply browse this site on your smart phone. Rudd said these may not be the key wells and that a stream bed beneath the mill could be taking the groundwater on a different route to the river — a route that runs toward the wells that in the early 1990s showed mercury levels above the provincial limit. A representative for Grassy Narrows told the Star that the person who received it did not at the time realize its significance. (personal observation) 28 Sept 2012)1. Home Â» Newswire Â» NDP demands answers on possible mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows – Tbnewswatch.com. Copyright owned or licensed by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. to colleagues, clients or customers, or inquire about A half century ago, an upstream pulp and paper mill was allowed to dump tonnes of mercury into the river system. Links contained in current issues of The Canadian Reader and What in the World? Four months later, the Star published the story of Kas Glowacki, a retired mill worker who said that in 1972 he was part of a group who “haphazardly” dumped drums filled with salt and mercury into a pit behind the mill. Mercury, a potent neurotoxin, has sickened generations who consider walleye a dietary staple. Star Newspapers Limited and/or its licensors. In 1984, when the environment minister of the day recommended the government clean the river, he was ignored, and the river was left to clean itself. Mercury Still Killing in Grassy Narrows Shocking health study confirms Native health concerns; questions Health Canada guidelines Toronto - The health impacts of mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows people are worse now than in the 1970's, say the shocking results of a newly translated health study by Japanese mercury … Roughly 80 subsequent tests from 10 wells throughout the 1990s and until 2006 showed lower but still elevated levels of mercury. All He found people with mercury levels more than three times the Health Canada limit in Grassy Narrows and seven times the limit in nearby Whitedog. In its statement, Ontario’s Environment Ministry said it currently has heavy machinery on site to install a network of groundwater monitoring wells. Recent research by Japanese experts shows residents, including the younger generation, continue to have symptoms of mercury poisoning. The Domtar-commissioned report noted that of all the groundwater wells near the river, three “key” wells positioned on land that slopes down and east toward the river showed groundwater mercury levels below provincial limits. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/11/11/ontario-knew-a… In 2016, Sneaky and her compatriots at the youth complex made a music video, Home to Me, to show pride in Grassy Narrows and tell others that their home is more than the site of a mercury disaster. His comments came a few months after the government received the confidential memo detailing contaminated soil and groundwater, according to Domtar. Indigenous have suffered Mercury pollution for over 50 years. In the years that followed the discovery of the mercury in the soil, nearby wells were also tested by the various companies that owned the mill, revealing groundwater with mercury at more than 4,482 times today’s provincial water quality levels of 0.29 micrograms per litre. Geoffrey York. Government officials have repeatedly downplayed the mercury poisoning of Grassy Narrows. Canadian scientist Donna Mergler — who, in a recently released report, reviewed decades of scientific research on mercury’s effects — noted that today’s science shows that mercury poisoning causes damage at low levels previously considered harmless. What many residents of Grassy Narrows now have, according to Japanese scientists, is Minamata disease — also known as methylmercury poisoning. A First Nation of about 650 people near Ontario’s border with Manitoba, Grassy Narrows’ water was contaminated by tonnes of mercury dumped into its water system by an upstream paper mill. A confidential report, commissioned by the current owner of the mill, Domtar, and prepared in 2016 by an environmental consulting firm, tells a different story: the province knew decades ago that the site of the mill was contaminated with mercury. So have many in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, also known as Whitedog First … The report also says that although the limited data shows no “apparent significant loading of mercury” to the river, “it is not presently possible to make a firm conclusion.”. At the time the owner of the plant was Canadian Pacific Forest Products Ltd., a company no longer in existence, as far as the Star can tell. Evaluation: Can be based on their participation in the class discussion as well as their answers to the worksheet questions (see the Tale of Grassy Narrows Answer Key). To order Rudd said this is “very disappointing,” because if it had been known sooner, “the situation would have been very different now. This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. I now see that was a deception and my people have paid the price with their health.”, A Domtar spokesperson said his company commissioned the report in 2016 to “support the province in meeting its responsibilities for managing mercury contamination on the site.”. Using an RSS Reader you can access most recent stories and other feeds posted on this network. (Toronto Star), The Toronto Star and thestar.com, each property of Toronto Star QUEEN’S PARK, Ont. A team of scientists released a report last week concluding that mercury may still be contaminating the river. Toronto Star articles, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com, "My children are sick, my community is sick" - Grassy Narrows residents describe the toll of decades of mercury poisoning. The people of Grassy Narrows are living with the devastating consequences of a half century of mercury contamination of their rivers and lakes. In a pregnant woman, it can build in the fetal brain and other tissues. For political parties, it’s a federal election issue. I was told over and over that the mill site was cleaned up and that the problem ended in the ’70s. Fetuses are particularly vulnerable to cognitive damage. Soil samples that showed hundreds of times the mercury level of a nearby uncontaminated site were taken from an area behind the Dryden paper mill where former mill worker Kas Glowacki said he buried 50 barrels of mercury … “At these cord blood (mercury) concentrations, there is consensus from the scientific literature that there would be effects on children’s neurodevelopment,” the report said. (Levels 1 and 2) are posted below. When representatives for Grassy Narrows asked Domtar for a copy of the report, as well as any other information the company had about possible mercury contamination, they were told by the company to file a freedom of information request with the government, according to emails obtained by the Star. (2018). The methylmercury migrates up the food chain to fish and then the locals who eat the fish. Grassy Narrows mercury videos and latest news articles; GlobalNews.ca your source for the latest news on Grassy Narrows mercury . Grassy Narrows’ robust fishing tourism industry, especially at Ball Lake Lodge, was decimated in the 1970s when news of the mercury dumping broke. The Japanese wanted to gather information on mercury poisoning following a similar disaster in Minamata, Japan, that came to light in 1956. They didn’t even tell us. It was first discovered in 1956 in Japan, where illnesses were linked to the industrial waste water from a chemical factory that dumped between 200 and 600 tonnes of mercury (far more than the Dryden plant) into the water system. Rudd — who has received Grassy Narrows funding to measure mercury contamination in the Wabigoon River system — has repeatedly said the entire area around the old paper processing plant should be examined because, historically, these types of plants have been known to be sources of contamination long after they stopped using mercury in the paper-bleaching process. Please … Murray said he recalls the Environment Ministry considering “legal issues” surrounding what information the ministry could share and what information was owned by Domtar. ... @Olddutch Follow Get that up to Grassy Narrows. While some value direct action on the ground, others feel the court-system is a better avenue for protecting their land (ibid). To date there has been no effort to clean up the river or the former mill site; no comprehensive study of the … Grassy Narrows unveils mercury treatment centre design but wonders whether government is committed to building it. presentation-ready copies of Toronto Star content for distribution A team of scientists released a report last week concluding that mercury may still be contaminating the river. If this had been well understood in the 1990s and something was done, then there would be a lot smaller a cleanup job than there is going to have to be now.”. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! In a statement to the Star, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Environment Ministry said the province is currently spending millions to assess the extent of the mercury contamination leading up to its $85-million plan to clean the river, and that all information will be shared. It also said that a plastic barrier may have been installed “between the contaminated soil and the clean backfill.” Post-excavation sampling revealed “it was known that additional contaminated soils … remained present in the area.”, Mercury visible in the soil is “gross industrial pollution,” said leading mercury scientist John Rudd, who has studied Grassy Narrows and has been involved in the remediation of other industrial facilities that used mercury in the production process. As for why the report was not released sooner, the ministry spokesperson said “we could not publicly release this information as it is derived from a third-party report that is owned by Domtar and was prepared by their consultant.”. Bacteria that thrive in wet, low-oxygen environments such as lake bottoms turn mercury into its most toxic form, methylmercury. Harada continued his work in Canada and first tested community members of Grassy Narrows in 1975. Earlier this year, the Star and Earthroots found soil on mill property that had mercury readings up to 80 times normal levels. Government officials knew in the 1990s that mercury was visible in soil under the paper mill upstream from Grassy Narrows First Nation, but the people there did not find out until this week, the Star has learned. Rudd, who has been working with Grassy Narrows and read the confidential report, said the metal construction of these wells may actually have led to an under-reporting of the mercury level in the groundwater at that time. By the time it stopped in 1970, about 10 tonnes of the toxin had been released. “When you see that, it’s the worst possible situation. expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Toronto Until now, no one had told Grassy Narrows or Rudd about the mercury underneath the chemical building or the high well readings, Chief Fobister and Rudd said. Grassy Narrows grandmother and health advocate Judy Da Silva calls the development “sickening.”, “It shows how lowly we are, the Anishinabeg, to the government and corporations. Meanwhile, recent key findings by the Star, environmental group Earthroots and top scientists have shown high levels of mercury in soil, fish and river sediment — all strongly suggesting the site of the mill is still leaking mercury. Mercury does not break down in the environment and can build up in living things, a process known as bioaccumulation, “inflicting increasing levels of harm on higher-order species,” according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. That mercury then dissolves into the groundwater and the groundwater could then move the mercury toward the river.”. Due to the ongoing mercury crisis, Grassy Narrows is at an increased danger from the virus. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Tap water that is contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. 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