Lab-grown meat was approved for sale for the first time this month. “Although the provincial government oversaw the closure of the chlor-alkali plant, which was the source of mercury at the site, no long-term, consistent monitoring plan for mercury was ever put in place. Grassy Narrows reminds Canada of unkept promises as AFN sets its priority agenda. Before these findings, leading scientists from Japan had been steadily releasing reports that showed a high number of Grassy Narrows and Whitedog residents with symptoms of mercury poisoning. Most recently, there was a letter to a senior Environment Ministry staffer in 2015, and another letter to then environment minister Glen Murray in March 2016 that asked for information on mercury contamination “without further delay.”. After Murray’s comments in the legislature, the Star and Earthroots found contaminated soil in the area just west of the mill where Glowacki recalled dumping the barrels. This prompted the province to search for the barrels, and in November 2016, then environment minister Glen Murray said in the legislature that “there are no barrels buried and there is no source.”. It might be much better.”, He added: “What happens with pollution like this is it spreads and spreads, and until you turn off the source, the situation gets worse and worse. Grassy Narrows’ legacy of mercury poisoning began in 1962, when the paper plant in Dryden, then owned by Reed Paper, began to dump mercury into the river about 100 kilometres upstream from the First Nation’s home. Murray, who has since left the cabinet and provincial government and is now executive director of the Pembina Institute, an environmental think-tank, told the Star, “I got a briefing on it. Physical symptoms of mercury poisoning include loss of muscle co-ordination and tunnel vision. The province’s Environment Ministry said it was unaware of this well data until it got the report in July 2016. The people of Grassy Narrows are still dealing with the disastrous impacts on their health and way of life. Simply browse this site on your smart phone. The report said the wells’ poor construction and rust undermined the accuracy of the mercury reading. Murray said he recalls the Environment Ministry considering “legal issues” surrounding what information the ministry could share and what information was owned by Domtar. These potential sources, experts say, could be contaminating the river still. Over the past three years, the Star and scientists have revealed that fish near Grassy Narrows remain the most contaminated in the province, that there are mercury-contaminated soil and river sediments at or near the site of the old mill, and that the provincial government knew in the 1990s that mercury was visible in soil under that site and never told anyone in Grassy Narrows … — 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. Republication or distribution of this content is You can use your smart phone to browse stories in the comfort of your hand. 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. We learned that the Grassy Narrows economy, recently based in commercial fishing and guiding for tourists, was now in shambles because of the pollution. The username/email or password you entered is incorrect. For almost 50 years, the river system—a foundational element of the Grassy Narrows culture—-that the community relies on for food and water has been contaminated with mercury … (Toronto Star), The Toronto Star and thestar.com, each property of Toronto Star There is no suggestion that Domtar, a pulp manufacturer several owners removed from Reed Paper, is responsible for any source of mercury. Tap water that is contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. Copyright owned or licensed by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. Grassy Narrows and Islington Indian Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Settlement Act (S.C. 1986, c. 23) Fetuses are particularly vulnerable to cognitive damage. Grassy Narrows First Nation fears further mercury poisoning as Ford government ends assessments for clear-cut logging. The residents were told that since the mill, then owned by Reed Paper, dumped 10 tonnes of mercury into the Wabigoon between 1962 and 1970, the river would, over time, clean itself naturally. 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.”. Never once was I told that mercury poison is still under the mill, right next to our river. 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. Harada’s 2011 study found 74 per cent of people diagnosed by his team as impacted or possibly impacted by mercury were not receiving any form of compensation. Further, the report — which is based on a “collection of historical sampling” from the mill’s archives — also reveals that groundwater samples taken from wells on the mill property over the years have come back with extremely high mercury levels. To order copies of This video was originally published in July, 2016. 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.”. expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Toronto — 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. Roughly 80 subsequent tests from 10 wells throughout the 1990s and until 2006 showed lower but still elevated levels of mercury. 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. The data is limited — there is not consistent data available for the wells. Premier Kathleen Wynne responded to Andrea Horwath’s questions, saying when she visited Grassy Narrows and spoke with scientists examining the river, there was no knowledge of ongoing mercury poisoning. https://nationtalk.ca/story/ndp-demands-answers-on-possible-mercury-poisoning-in-grassy-narrows-tbnewswatch-com. 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. Recent research by Japanese experts shows residents, including the younger generation, continue to have symptoms of mercury poisoning. to colleagues, clients or customers, or inquire about Earlier this year, the Star and Earthroots found soil on mill property that had mercury readings up to 80 times normal levels. Indigenous have suffered Mercury pollution for over 50 years. NDP demands answers on possible mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows – Tbnewswatch.com, CBC News: The National | Canada joins mission to the moon; COVID crowds hospitals | Dec. 16, 2020, Rama First Nation chief hopes for casino to reopen, COVID spread to slow in 2021 – simcoe.com, BC Government: High-speed internet benefits people in rural and Indigenous communities, http://www.tbnewswatch.com/News/390337/NDP_demands_answers_on_possible_mercury_poisoning_in_Grassy_Narrows. The harm they’ve experienced, including erosion of culture, loss of livelihoods, and one of the worst community health crises anywhere in Canada, has been made so much worse by … 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. The confidential report shows a well tested last year for the first time since 2006 returned a mercury level nearly three times the provincial threshold. 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. While liability has not been established, it is known that between 1962 and 1970, the Reed Paper’s chemical plant in Dryden dumped 10 tonnes of mercury into the Wabigoon … Rudd said this is “very disappointing,” because if it had been known sooner, “the situation would have been very different now. The Ontario Environment Ministry was alerted and “a total of 35 drums of mercury-contaminated soil were removed from the site for disposal at a licensed facility,” the report said. It is awful.”, Grassy Narrows Chief Simon Fobister said: “For decades I have been seeking justice for my people for mercury poisoning, searching for answers, searching for help. Both findings came after the Star revealed that walleye downstream are the most mercury-contaminated in the province. Grassy Narrows First Nation, or the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation, is a small First Nations community in northwestern Ontario. The people of Grassy Narrows are living with the devastating consequences of a half century of mercury contamination of their rivers and lakes. Decades of promises, but little action as mercury still takes lives in Grassy Narrows Apr 03, 2019 It’s been half a century since a pulp and paper mill in Dryden, Ont. “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. 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. permissions/licensing, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com. The mercury was dumped by a Dryden based paper company some 50 years ago. Japanese scientist Dr. Masazumi Harada spent the majority of his career examining the symptoms of the disease. rights reserved. presentation-ready copies of Toronto Star content for distribution Then top mercury scientists reported that sediment in the stretch of the Wabigoon River that flows past the plant had mercury levels up to 130 times normal levels. I’ve seen that at other plants. In November 1985, Wabaseemoong Independent Nations (formerly Islington, formerly Whitedog) and Grassy Narrows First Nation negotiated an out of court settlement with the federal government, the province of Ontario, and two paper companies (Reed Incorporated and Great Lakes Forest Products Limited) for all claims due to mercury … A half century ago, an upstream pulp and paper mill was allowed to dump tonnes of mercury into the river system. 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. Mercury Poisoning in Grassy Narrows Ilyniak 47 The community is divided over the appropriateness of certain tactics (p.o. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/11/11/ontario-knew-a… A team of scientists released a report last week concluding that mercury may still be contaminating the river. Links contained in current issues of The Canadian Reader and What in the World? The methylmercury migrates up the food chain to fish and then the locals who eat the fish. Read More: http://www.tbnewswatch.com/News/390337/NDP_demands_answers_on_possible_mercury_poisoning_in_Grassy_Narrows, This article comes from NationTalk: Due to the ongoing mercury crisis, Grassy Narrows is at an increased danger from the virus. Skip Navigation. 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. 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.”. 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.”. Please … The information in the report is “what I expected all along,” he said. 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. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! 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