Friday, August 19, 2011

Cancer rates downstream from oilsands to be probed: Canada

A long-awaited Alberta Health study into the health of people living downstream from the oilsands, where cancer rates are higher than normal, appears to be finally going ahead.

Concerns were first raised in 2006 about elevated cancer rates in Fort Chipewyan, about 220 kilometres north of Fort McMurray. A provincial government study released in 2009 confirmed the trend and recommended more analysis into possible causes.

"For various reasons, and none of them really sort of satisfactory, nothing has happened — this is over 2½ years later," said John O'Connor, the family doctor who drew widespread attention five years ago for alleging Fort Chipewyan had a high rate of a rare bile-duct cancer.

"But in the interim, we've had a lot of scientific studies that have revealed the lack of monitoring and the lack of due diligence on the part of governments, both federal and provincial, in looking after the environment," O'Connor said Thursday. (more)