Canada: National study led by Halifax researchers on effects of radon gas and arsenic exposure (frac’ing has been linked to radon release into homes and arsenic into resident water wells)

Hydraulic fracturing is the last thing that ought to be happening in Canada because of the release of radon and arsenic alone, never mind the many other health-harming and water contaminating impacts.

Halifax cancer researcher Graham Dellaire studies effects of radon gas and arsenic exposure by Keith Doucette Halifax, Nova Scotia, The Canadian Press, April 14, 2021, The Globe and Mail

A national study led by researchers in Halifax is looking at the effects of radon gas and arsenic exposure on the human body and examining ways the knowledge gained can assist health policy in Canada.

Dr. Graham Dellaire, a professor in Dalhousie University’s department of pathology, is leading a team of experts from across the country in examining the two primary environmental exposure carcinogens that affect people’s risk of getting cancer.

Researchers, Dellaire explained, are hoping their study will help doctors better communicate the risks of arsenic and give patients the desire to have their blood or toenails tested for exposure – just as they would have their cholesterol tested for the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“They (doctors) could tell you this is your pathology exposures to arsenic and radon and these are the lifestyle choices you can make now to protect yourself,” he said in a recent interview.

Recent studies have indicated that exposure to dangerous amounts of arsenic and radon contributes to 3,500 cases of lung cancer in Canada per year. Dellaire says he hopes his study will help elevate the public’s knowledge of the potential dangers.

“This is completely addressable,” Dellaire said. “People are getting the message on radon but we have not gotten the message on arsenic yet and both of these are avoidable, high-impact carcinogens in our environment.”

Arsenic is in our drinkable water supply, our soil and in shellfish, he said, adding that anyone who lives near a gold mine can be exposed to it because of the effluent that is produced.

Dellaire said arsenic is a particular problem in Atlantic Canada, where many people are on well water. “It’s estimated that 20 per cent of wells are contaminated with higher than what is considered a safe level of 10 parts per billion of arsenic in water,” he said.

The study is looking to build on a previous epidemiological research indicating that the national standard should be lowered to five parts per billion because of the risks of sustained exposure, Dellaire said.

He added that even for someone who doesn’t smoke, arsenic raises the chances of contracting bladder, kidney and prostate cancer, while radon is primarily linked to lung cancer. Radon is attributed as the cause for about 10 per cent of lung cancers in Canada, while arsenic has been linked to between 2 and 3 per cent per cent of lung cancers.

Canada generally has high radon gas levels because of the country’s geology, which features large deposits of granite containing uranium. The gas from the deposits can seep into the open basements of homes leading to prolonged exposure.

But unlike arsenic levels, which can be measured in people’s toenails up to three months after exposure, Dellaire said there is no equivalent test for detecting levels of radon.

That may be about to change, however, after the research team received over $2 million in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which Dellaire said will be used to build a metal-free mass spectrometry facility at the University of Calgary, were study co-lead Aaron Goodarzi is based. The facility will help measure the minute amounts of radioactive lead that are a residual breakdown product of radon exposure.

The lead has a half-life of 22 years and Dellaire said the ability to measure it in blood, urine or tissue samples would provide a look at nearly a lifetime of exposure to radon.

Refer also to:

The Canadian Way: Taxpayers paying billions of dollars to remediate corporate profit-taking in N.W.T. that will be arsenic “contaminated indefinitely.” Water used for drinking by Yellowknife and around Giant Mine may never recover

Lakes in 1,000 sq km surrounding Yellowknife contaminated with arsenic, methyl mercury years after mine closure: “There are real impacts on communities and on the greater landscape as well”

Chippewa Co. Wisconsin: Arsenic levels at **bankrupt** frac sand mine 7 times higher than state cleanup standards; DNR has ‘reasonable concern’ heavy metals in holding ponds might have contaminated groundwater.

Scientists Find ‘Alarming’ Amount Of Arsenic In Groundwater Near Texas Fracking Sites; New perspectives on the effects of natural gas extraction on groundwater quality

Wisconsin Frac Sand Mining Harms Lawsuit: Cooks Valley couple files lawsuit against EOG Resources and Kraemer Mining & Materials for property and groundwater pollution, damages to home, radon gas, health and property value harms

U of C researchers sound alarm over radon levels in Calgary homes, expanding study across Alberta. Radon in frac fields needs study first, but started decades ago, before the frac hell began

Alberta children at risk from deadly radon gas in their schools? Radon testing done in schools across Canada to survey for cancer risk, only 1% of Alberta schools tested. What’s Alberta hiding? Too many decades of fracking, waste injection & enhanced oil recovery release too much radon in Alberta?

University of Calgary Study: Deadly levels of radon gas in one in eight Calgary homes – that may dramatically increase after companies get fracking

DEP Urges Pennsylvanians to Test Homes for Radon; PA schools aren’t required to test for lead or radon, so many Pittsburgh-area districts don’t

Scientists mapping deadly radon in Calgary

“It looks like fracking has unearthed an unbargained for and serious cancer risk in peoples’ homes.” John Hopkins study links radon levels in Pennsylvania homes to fracking: “These findings worry us”

Radon — #9 In “Top 10 Toxic Ingredients Used By The Fossil Fuel Industries”; Cochrane Alberta home tests high for radon

Radon gas leaks in coalbed methane fields in Australia spark call for probe

Silent killer: Health Canada urges testing homes for cancer-causing radon

Radon threats are grounds for precaution

Arsenic Uptake in Homegrown Vegetables from Mining-Affected Soils

Evidence Presented by Encana to 41st PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION Standing Committee Natural Resources; Encana taking step to stop frac’ing with benzene, diesel, chromium, arsenic, mercury etc Did they? I expect it was just more Encana/Ovintiv frac yak, no action.

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