Tap water that is contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. https://nationtalk.ca/story/ndp-demands-answers-on-possible-mercury-poisoning-in-grassy-narrows-tbnewswatch-com. 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. Grassy Narrows grandmother and health advocate Judy Da Silva calls the development “sickening.”, “It shows how lowly we are, the Anishinabeg, to the government and corporations. This video was originally published in July, 2016. 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. The Domtar-commissioned report noted that of all the groundwater wells near the river, three “key” wells positioned on land that slopes down and east toward the river showed groundwater mercury levels below provincial limits. Let’s show Grassy Narrows that we care. Before Rudd’s report, the only major scientific inquiry into mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows was undertaken by a group of Japanese scientists, first in 1975 and again in a 2010 follow-up. Japanese scientist Dr. Masazumi Harada spent the majority of his career examining the symptoms of the disease. We think Ontario is now at a turning point,” said Struhs, adding that the government made an “important change in direction” last month when it agreed to pay for a comprehensive assessment that should “once and for all” determine whether mercury from the site is leaking into the river. Canadian scientist Donna Mergler — who, in a recently released report, reviewed decades of scientific research on mercury’s effects — noted that today’s science shows that mercury poisoning causes damage at low levels previously considered harmless. Please … “They knew about this poison and they did nothing. Mercury Poisoning 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. 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. 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. 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. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. What many residents of Grassy Narrows now have, according to Japanese scientists, is Minamata disease — also known as methylmercury poisoning. When Harada returned in 2004, all of the people who had tested over the limit were dead. NEWS RELEASE MPP MICHAEL MANTHA ***** QUEEN’S PARK - In question period on Monday, Ontario NDP Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation critic and Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha called on Kathleen Wynne to explain why her Liberal government sat on a 2016 report confirming that residents of the Grassy Narrows First Nation are still at risk of mercury … Mercury Poisoning in Grassy Narrows Ilyniak 47 The community is divided over the appropriateness of certain tactics (p.o. The report said the wells’ poor construction and rust undermined the accuracy of the mercury reading. Roughly 80 subsequent tests from 10 wells throughout the 1990s and until 2006 showed lower but still elevated levels of mercury. Meanwhile, recent key findings by the Star, environmental group Earthroots and top scientists have shown high levels of mercury in soil, fish and river sediment — all strongly suggesting the site of the mill is still leaking mercury. 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.”. Bacteria that thrive in wet, low-oxygen environments such as lake bottoms turn mercury into its most toxic form, methylmercury. For Grassy Narrows families, mercury is an intergenerational trauma. Indigenous have suffered Mercury pollution for over 50 years. In its statement, Ontario’s Environment Ministry said it currently has heavy machinery on site to install a network of groundwater monitoring wells. You can use your smart phone to browse stories in the comfort of your hand. Former Grassy Narrows chief who fought for mercury treatment centre laid to rest as battle with Ottawa continues. To order The report mentions some of the wells have been destroyed. Singapore gave its thumbs up to the chicken nuggets produced by Eat Just Inc. This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. The report says there are two potential ongoing sources of mercury at the site of the old mill: under the old chlor-alkali plant where “additional mercury-contaminated soils are known to remain present beneath the building,” and a ditch beside the river where there has been no monitoring. The Trudeau administration committed to building the centre when Chief Simon Fobister and … 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. Evaluation: Can be based on their participation in the class discussion as well as their answers to the worksheet questions (see the Tale of Grassy Narrows Answer Key). Simply browse this site on your smart phone. 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. dumped 10 tonnes of mercury into the English and Wabigoon river systems, poisoning aquatic life downstream along with two communities, including Grassy Narrows… These potential sources, experts say, could be contaminating the river still. 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.”. QUEEN’S PARK, Ont. The people of Grassy Narrows are still dealing with the disastrous impacts on their health and way of life. — 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. To date there has been no effort to clean up the river or the former mill site; no comprehensive study of the … I was told over and over that the mill site was cleaned up and that the problem ended in the ’70s. A confidential report, commissioned by the current owner of the mill, Domtar, and prepared in 2016 by an environmental consulting firm, tells a different story: the province knew decades ago that the site of the mill was contaminated with mercury. Earlier this year, the Star and Earthroots found soil on mill property that had mercury readings up to 80 times normal levels. Government officials have repeatedly downplayed the mercury poisoning of Grassy Narrows. 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. Star Newspapers Limited and/or its licensors. While some value direct action on the ground, others feel the court-system is a better avenue for protecting their land (ibid). https://nationtalk.ca, The permalink for this story is: rights reserved. Grassy Narrows First Nation, or the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation, is a small First Nations community in northwestern Ontario. 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.”. Grassy Narrows reminds Canada of unkept promises as AFN sets its priority agenda. Lab-grown meat was approved for sale for the first time this month. presentation-ready copies of Toronto Star content for distribution 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. The commercial fishermen and guides went on welfare. The information in the report is “what I expected all along,” he said. Rudd — who has received Grassy Narrows funding to measure mercury contamination in the Wabigoon River system — has repeatedly said the entire area around the old paper processing plant should be examined because, historically, these types of plants have been known to be sources of contamination long after they stopped using mercury in the paper-bleaching process. Links contained in current issues of The Canadian Reader and What in the World? 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.”. His comments came a few months after the government received the confidential memo detailing contaminated soil and groundwater, according to Domtar. — 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. We learned that the Grassy Narrows economy, recently based in commercial fishing and guiding for tourists, was now in shambles because of the pollution. (Toronto Star), The Toronto Star and thestar.com, each property of Toronto Star Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Soil samples that showed hundreds of times the mercury level of a nearby uncontaminated site were taken from an area behind the Dryden paper mill where former mill worker Kas Glowacki said he buried 50 barrels of mercury … I’ve seen that at other plants. 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 … 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. 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. … A river poisoned with mercury. Physical symptoms of mercury poisoning include loss of muscle co-ordination and tunnel vision. The Domtar-commissioned report says that in 1990, a work crew repairing the concrete floor in a building on mill property saw mercury in the soil beneath. More severe effects in Japan included paralysis, coma and death. There are no known cases of COVID-19 so far but people are on high-alert and the community is going into a six-day per week lock-down and only allowed out on Wednesdays, indefinitely. A representative for Grassy Narrows told the Star that the person who received it did not at the time realize its significance. QUEEN’S PARK, Ont. Murray said he recalls the Environment Ministry considering “legal issues” surrounding what information the ministry could share and what information was owned by Domtar. The Ongoing Impact of Mercury Poisoning in the Community Introduction In 1873, the sovereign Ojibway nation known today as… Last week, environmental organization Earthroots came out with evidence of mercury contamination upstream from the Grassy Narrows First Nation. Copyright owned or licensed by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. He found people with mercury levels more than three times the Health Canada limit in Grassy Narrows and seven times the limit in nearby Whitedog. 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. Toronto Star articles, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com, "My children are sick, my community is sick" - Grassy Narrows residents describe the toll of decades of mercury poisoning. The methylmercury migrates up the food chain to fish and then the locals who eat the fish. Home » Newswire » NDP demands answers on possible mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows – Tbnewswatch.com. Rudd, who has been working with Grassy Narrows and read the confidential report, said the metal construction of these wells may actually have led to an under-reporting of the mercury level in the groundwater at that time. During the intervening years, as the residents of Grassy Narrows and scientists sounded the alarm that the neurotoxin was poisoning the fish and the people who eat it, government official after government official kept repeating that there was no ongoing source of mercury in the Wabigoon River that is the lifeblood of Grassy Narrows. Republication or distribution of this content is Before Rudd’s report, the only major scientific inquiry into mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows was undertaken by a group of Japanese scientists, first in 1975 and again in a 2010 follow-up. To order copies of 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. In her report, Mergler reviewed cord blood data collected by Health Canada from Grassy Narrows babies between 1978 and 1994. (Levels 1 and 2) are posted below. / Le Monde en Marche is a photocopiable current events resource, published in English and French, for Canadian students in grades 5 through 7 (Level 1) and grades 8 through 10 (Level 2).Designed to enhance students' understanding of and interest in current Canadian and international events and … Mercury, a potent neurotoxin, has sickened generations who consider walleye a dietary staple. By the time it stopped in 1970, about 10 tonnes of the toxin had been released. Another study by Harada published in 2005 showed 79 per cent of 175 people tested in those two communities in 2002 and 2004 had or may have had Minamata disease. 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.”. 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 … “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. 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. The people of Grassy Narrows are living with the devastating consequences of a half century of mercury contamination of their rivers and lakes. There is no suggestion that Domtar, a pulp manufacturer several owners removed from Reed Paper, is responsible for any source of mercury. The below is a research paper I authored while attending engineering at the U of M. I am posting it for the general public to have access to information on Grassy Narrows all in one place. It was first discovered in 1956 in Japan, where illnesses were linked to the industrial waste water from a chemical factory that dumped between 200 and 600 tonnes of mercury (far more than the Dryden plant) into the water system. 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. In a statement to the Star, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Environment Ministry said the province is currently spending millions to assess the extent of the mercury contamination leading up to its $85-million plan to clean the river, and that all information will be shared. Read More: http://www.tbnewswatch.com/News/390337/NDP_demands_answers_on_possible_mercury_poisoning_in_Grassy_Narrows, This article comes from NationTalk: 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. In a pregnant woman, it can build in the fetal brain and other tissues. Recent research by Japanese experts shows residents, including the younger generation, continue to have symptoms of mercury poisoning. The username/email or password you entered is incorrect. Like we are not worth it to be alive,” said Da Silva. Fetuses are particularly vulnerable to cognitive damage. Both findings came after the Star revealed that walleye downstream are the most mercury-contaminated in the province. Residents of Grassy Narrows First Nation, about 100 kilometres northeast of Kenora, Ont., have grappled with long-standing mental and physical health issues due to toxic mercury levels in the nearby English-Wabigoon River. A half century ago, an upstream pulp and paper mill was allowed to dump tonnes of mercury into the river system. Grassy Narrows mercury videos and latest news articles; GlobalNews.ca your source for the latest news on Grassy Narrows mercury . Grassy Narrows and Islington Indian Bands Mercury Pollution Claims Settlement Act (S.C. 1986, c. 23) Using an RSS Reader you can access most recent stories and other feeds posted on this network. (personal observation) 28 Sept 2012)1. Today, the report says, it likely still is. 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 … Skip Navigation. A team of scientists released a report last week concluding that mercury may still be contaminating the river. The Grassy Narrows & Islington Band Mercury Disability Board. 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 … All Grassy Narrows unveils mercury treatment centre design but wonders whether government is committed to building it. Mercury does not break down in the environment and can build up in living things, a process known as bioaccumulation, “inflicting increasing levels of harm on higher-order species,” according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows) First Nation has been living with the effects of mercury poisoning for over a generation. Harada continued his work in Canada and first tested community members of Grassy Narrows in 1975. I never actually saw the report.” He said he has no recollection of being told by ministry staff about the 1990 incident when mill workers saw mercury in the soil or the numerous findings of elevated mercury in groundwater. Grassy Narrows, Ontario. Newspapers Limited, One Yonge Street, 4th floor, Toronto, ON, M5E 1E6. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/11/11/ontario-knew-a… All wells were near the Wabigoon River that flows downstream from Dryden, where the mill is located, to Grassy Narrows. 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. A team of scientists released a report last week concluding that mercury may still be contaminating the river. 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. They didn’t even tell us. “When you see that, it’s the worst possible situation. “Domtar cannot speak to the purpose or attest to the veracity of historical mercury sampling data,” said spokesperson David Struhs, adding the company has owned the property only since 2007. So have many in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, also known as Whitedog First … Never once was I told that mercury poison is still under the mill, right next to our river. The Japanese wanted to gather information on mercury poisoning following a similar disaster in Minamata, Japan, that came to light in 1956. Geoffrey York. 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. Grassy Narrows First Nation fears further mercury poisoning as Ford government ends assessments for clear-cut logging. In 2010, Leona Aglukkaq, then federal health minister, said of Grassy Narrows: “This is one of those projects that we had reviewed and determined was safe.”, The Ontario Environment Ministry said in February 2016 “there is no evidence to suggest that mercury levels in the river system are such that any remediation, beyond continuing natural sedimentation remediation, would be warranted.”. 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. 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 … 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. Grassy Narrows’ robust fishing tourism industry, especially at Ball Lake Lodge, was decimated in the 1970s when news of the mercury dumping broke. (2018). Due to the ongoing mercury crisis, Grassy Narrows is at an increased danger from the virus. 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. That mercury then dissolves into the groundwater and the groundwater could then move the mercury toward the river.”. 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.”. Absorbed through the digestive tract, methylmercury “readily enters the brain,” where it can remain for a long time, according to Health Canada. ... @Olddutch Follow Get that up to Grassy Narrows. to colleagues, clients or customers, or inquire about “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. For political parties, it’s a federal election issue. Domtar told the Star it gave a copy of the report to the community in September. Resources Grassy Narrows Drinking Water – Background Assessment: Information for the Ontario Regional Director-General. Decades of government inaction. Until now, no one had told Grassy Narrows or Rudd about the mercury underneath the chemical building or the high well readings, Chief Fobister and Rudd said. Mercury Still Killing in Grassy Narrows Shocking health study confirms Native health concerns; questions Health Canada guidelines Toronto - The health impacts of mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows people are worse now than in the 1970's, say the shocking results of a newly translated health study by Japanese mercury … permissions/licensing, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com. We learned about the 20,000 pounds of mercury dumped into the English-Wabigoon River system upon which Grassy Narrows lives depend. What in the World? expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Toronto Believing the river was not cleaning itself, and feeling certain that the toxin has been poisoning them, leaders from Grassy Narrows and nearby Wabaseemoong (Whitedog) Independent Nations have for years been asking the government for information on the scope of the mercury contamination. The province’s Environment Ministry said it was unaware of this well data until it got the report in July 2016. Rudd said this is “very disappointing,” because if it had been known sooner, “the situation would have been very different now. To access links from previous issues, click on the appropriate link in the box to the right. 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