Tag Archives | Sudbury Soil Study

Sudbury Soil Study – Did it Short-Circuit the Community Process? – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

There is an old saying around farmyards. Don’t be surprised if, when you go to get the horses, you find the barn door was left open and the horses have stampeded out the door. This seems to be the case with the Sudbury Soils Study, according to its critics.

Why is it that the original terms of reference did not include the influence of metal contamination on area mining workers, including contractors? It would seem obvious that these workers face a double whammy of workplace exposure and environmental exposure, especially if they live near the old smelter sites at Copper Cliff, Gatchell, Falconbridge and Coniston.

This would mean that Ontario government representation would have to include the Ontario Ministry of Labour and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care on the technical committee (TC), which is responsible for the whole process.

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Sudbury Soils Study Continues to be Criticized – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

The Sudbury Soils Study is continuing to raise criticisms in the community. The date for public comment ended Saturday, Nov. 1. A number of community food activists and local farmers were told Thursday by Mississauga toxicologist Glenn Ferguson that local vegetables and fruit grown in backyards or from commercial operations are safe. Ferguson is a scientist who worked for the SARA Group managing the Human Health Risk Assessment work for the Sudbury Soils Study. He said the critics may have found high levels of metals in some soil samples in the SARA data but what really matters is what turns up in the food itself.

“It’s like apples and oranges. You cannot compare values in soil with values in the produce itself. People eat the produce, not the soil,” said Ferguson. “We still cannot contact the physician who wrote the critique for the citizens so at this point we do not know what values he is referring to.”

Ferguson has a Ph.D. in health sciences at the University of Waterloo specializing in the validation of toxicology risk assessment models and techniques. He has more than 14 years experience in the field of toxicology, human health and ecological risk assessment. He is considered a Qualified Person for Risk Assessment (QPRA) as defined by the Ontario Protection Act of Ontario legislation.

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Dr. Chris Wren – Sudbury Soil Study Author Counters Critics – Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

The SARA Group, responsible for the Sudbury Soils Study, has hit back against its critics. www.sudburysoilsstudy.com

Last week, a group, calling itself the Community Committee on the Sudbury Soils Study, released a report by Dr. Kapil Khatter at Tom Davies Square. It was prepared by a nationally known pollution watchdog, Environmental Defence Canada. It stated the Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) report of the Sudbury Soils Study “cannot demonstrate there is no harm occurring, it can only estimate level of risk.”

That means the public remains uninformed about lead contamination, air levels of nickel, ingested arsenic from soils and the additional level of exposure mining workers face when they leave the workplace, said Rick Grylls, president of Mine Mill CAW Local 598 and a member of the group. Both Mine Mill CAW Local 598 and John Fera, president of Steelworkers Local 6500 have joined retired health and safety activist Homer Seguin, along with professors and health activists, to push for more government action on soil and water contamination from 100 years of mining.

According to Environmental Defence, Khatter is a family physician and environmental and health expert.

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Rick Grylls – Local 598 President – Disputes Sudbury Soil Study by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Rick Grylls - Local 598/CAW President“This study is in no way associated to the previous 100 years of health risks and exposures from the 100 million tons of pollutants our historical Sudbury citizens faced and the effects it might have caused, which citizens personally live with today.” Rick Grylls President, Local 598/CAW Sudbury Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union

The debate is not over. Comments regarding the Sudbury Soil Study are still coming in. Rick Grylls, Sudbury Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union, Local 598/CAW president, released a 13-page letter earlier this month disputing the study’s terms of reference.

“I was informed that the technical committee, the decision making body of the Sudbury Soil Study, discussed my letter at their last meeting on Thursday,” said Grylls.

According to Grylls, the real flaw in the Sudbury Soil Study is that the terms of reference for the research were already set before union representatives were able to participate in the study as observers.

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Pollution Prevention Avoids Future Problems – (Digging Through the Sudbury Soils Study) – By Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Designing Out Trouble

(Final instalment of a four-part series) Sudbury Soils Study

Both Vale Inco and Xstrata have committed to being part of the solution and not the problem. They said that in a joint news release on May 13 after the release of the Sudbury Soil Study Human Risk Assessment.

The first necessity is better information about what emissions, such as dust, are being released.

Before the Sudbury Soils Study, the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) conducted monitoring of air emissions at Nickel Street in Copper Cliff and Lisgar Street in Sudbury. In 2003, both companies agreed to fund an expanded air monitoring program, including samples of particulate matter (PM10) which is thought to be more relevant for inhalation into a persons’ lungs. In 10 locations, 20 monitors were set up. That data was used in the Sudbury Soil Study.

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Lead: It Will Follow (Digging Through the Sudbury Soil Study)-By Janet Gibson

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Janet Gibson’s article. www.northernlife.ca

What people can do to reduce their exposure to this toxic heavy metal

(Third instalment of a four-part series) Sudbury Soils Study

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The average citizen can get lost reading the $10 million Sudbury Soils Study, which sits in three volumes on a shelf at your local library. But it’s worth the read if you take a proactive attitude toward your health. Volume 2 is the human health risk assessment, done to find out if residents’ health was at risk from exposure to the soil, air, drinking water or food. Consultant Chris Wren and his colleagues concluded there were “no unacceptable health risks predicted for exposure to four of the six chemicals studied: arsenic, copper, cobalt and selenium.”

As for the other two chemicals – nickel and lead – “the study calculated a minimal risk of respiratory inflammation from lifetime exposures to airborne nickel in Copper Cliff and the west portion of Sudbury Centre.” As well, “there’s a potential risk for young children living in Copper Cliff, Coniston, Falconbridge and Sudbury Centre due to levels of lead in some soil samples and indoor dust.”

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Seven lives 70 Questions (Digging Through the Sudbury Soil Study) – Janet Gibson

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Janet Gibson’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Citizens Speak Out About Soil Study

(second instalment of a four-part series) Sudbury Soils Study

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In 1986, Copper Cliff resident Silvana Oppedisano hung the laundry out to dry in the backyard of the family home on Serpentine Street. That afternoon, her husband Pat found a hole in one of the bedsheets.
“Ever since that day, there’s been no more clothesline outside,” Pat said. The hole, he said, was caused by fallout from the chimney at the Inco smelter. “That’s the way it is,” he said. “The wind shifts every which way.”

Pat, an affable barber, said people aren’t talking about the Sudbury Soils Study released two weeks ago. But he’s interested in reading it if he can find out where it is. “We know the soil’s contaminated,” he said. “Are we happy? No. The question is, ‘What can we do about it?’ Because you can’t live in a place like this without it being contaminated.”

The $10 million study, paid for by mining giants Vale Inco and Xstrata, said there were “no unacceptable health risks predicted for exposure to four of the six chemicals of concern studied: arsenic, copper, cobalt and selenim. The risk calculated for typical exposure to lead throughout the Greater Sudbury area is within acceptable benchmarks for protection of human health.

However, lead levels in some soil samples indicated a potential risk for young children in Copper Cliff, Coniston, Falconbridge and Sudbury Centre.” Pat said things have changed in Copper Cliff since 1961, when he first moved there. Some days in the 60s, he said, “you couldn’t see across the street.” Continue Reading →