Skip to content


Radioactive chemicals in Great Lakes need special designation, groups say via CBC News

Uranium or plutonium can cause cancer, birth defects and genetic mutations in people and animals

The tracking of dangerous radioactive substances in the Great Lakes basin is woefully inadequate given the intensive nuclear activity in the area, environmental and health groups say.

In a letter to the Canadian and U.S. governments on Wednesday, more than 100 organizations called for such substances to be designated as “chemicals of mutual concern.”

Such a designation — recognition that radionuclides are potentially harmful to human health or the environment — would require governments to develop a strategy for dealing with them with a view to keeping them out of the lakes.

“Radionuclides can have very serious immediate, long-term and intergenerational effects on human and non-human health,” the letter states. “There is no level of radionuclides below which exposure can be defined as ‘safe’.”

Chemicals such as uranium or plutonium — which can remain toxic for eons — can cause cancer, birth defects and genetic mutations in both people and animals. Yet despite a surprising amount of activity involving the substances on or near the Great Lakes, a report commissioned by the Canadian Environmental Law Association in support of the designation finds monitoring of the radioactivity is patchy at best.

Study author John Jackson, who notes the lakes are a source of drinking water for millions of Canadians and Americans, said it’s high time for the long-standing deficiency to be rectified given that the basin is a “hotbed” for nuclear-related activity.

[…]

The issue is taking on increased urgency with a plan by Ontario Power Generation to bury tonnes of contaminated materials deep underground near the shore of Lake Huron — a proposal currently before the federal environment minister — as well as an ongoing search for a permanent storage site for highly radioactive spent fuel rods.

“The large number of facilities around the Great Lakes Basin, usually near the shoreline, result in ongoing regular discharges into the lakes as well as a high probability of accidents that release higher amounts of radionuclides,” the letter states.

Even though some levels of radioactivity occur naturally, Jackson said every effort needs to be made to minimize any increase.

Signatories to the letter include groups such as the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Greenpeace, the Council of Canadians and Sierra Club.

Read more at Radioactive chemicals in Great Lakes need special designation, groups say

Posted in *English.

Tagged with , , , , , .


0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.



Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.