Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Study Proves It: Tar Sands Operations Poisoning Athabasca Basin, Fort Chipewyan


High levels of cancer-causing toxins are being found in areas downstream of Fort McMurray's oilsands, says a study commissioned by residents of Alberta's oldest community.

Waters in Fort Chipewyan contain high levels of arsenic, the fish are contaminated with high levels of mercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons - another pollutant - are higher than they should be, said Kevin Timoney.

Timoney is the ecologist who studied the waters and sediments in the Peace-Athabasca Delta near Fort Chipewyan, 610 air km northeast of Edmonton.

However, the study found that the hamlet's drinking water was safe.

Residents are not surprised with the results of the study because their elders have been saying all along something is wrong with their water.

Anglers have caught fish with abnormal growths and hunters have found fowl covered in oil.

"This is only a start to proving that there is a direct link to oilsands development and our health," said Allan Adam, the newly elected chief of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

"This is not news to us.

"It simply supports what we have been saying to this government of Alberta and to industry for decades."

Timoney's findings re-ignited Mikisew Cree First Nation's call for a moratorium on oilsands development.

"The federal and provincial governments are continuing to issue approvals for projects despite all of the uncertainties with the true environmental effects of oilsands development," said Russell Kaskamin a councillor with Mikisew Cree.

"I'm shocked but I'm not surprised," said Dr. John O' Connor, a doctor who has been documenting rare cases of cancer in the area.

"(The study) verifies what has been happening in Fort Chip for many years."

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