Health Implications; the Alberta Oil Sands

Examples:

- Deadly explosions and industrial accidents
- Reported increases in cancer downstream from tar sands
- Pollution of fresh water leading to poisoned drinking water

Public Concerns:

  • A 2006 study by Suncor found elevated arsenic levels in moose 453 times higher than the acceptable level in terms of cancer risk (that is, the levels could lead to 453 additional cases of cancer for every 100,000 residents).
  • Dissatisfied with Suncor's study, the Alberta government initiated its own study, which found arsenic levels to be 17 – 33 times higher than the acceptable level in moose meat. The study also found that all wild meat may have unacceptably high levels of the cancer-causing toxin.
  • In November, 2007, an independent consultant hired by the Fort Chipewyan First Nation found high levels of arsenic in the waters of the Peace-Athabasca Delta near Fort Chipewyan; fish that were contaminated with high levels of mercury; and levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons considered unsafe aquatic life. Contaminants were not only found in fish, but also in waterfowl, muskrat, beavers, and moose — all of which are traditional food sources for the community.