Smelter impact On Children To Be Tested

Tuesday, September 08, 2009 at 14:04



More studies are being conducted in the Flin Flon/Creighton area to determine what, if any, impact a nearby smelter plant has had on residents.


Over the next six weeks, exposure to arsenic, lead, and inorganic mercury will be evaluated through blood and urine samples from children.


Previous studies have indicated elevated levels of these metals in the soil, and in some cases, soil quality did not meet the recommended guidelines for human health.


Blair Jackson, field study manager for the exposure evaluation, says the study focuses on children under 15 years of age.


He says that’s because children are generally more sensitive to the environment than adults.


“They’re also potentially exposed to higher levels, because pound for pound, they eat more than adults, they drink more than adults, and they breathe in more air than adults, according to their body size. And their behaviour — they’re just more in contact with their environment. (They’re) outside, playing all around,” Jackson says.


Jackson says if the average exposure in a child isn’t elevated, it’s very unlikely levels would be high in adults.

The team hopes to evaluate 400 of the 1,200 children living in the area, selected using a random sampling process.


But if parents want their children to be tested, they can come forward as well.


Results should be available to the community early next year.