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Title: Human health and environmental risk assessments: politics or science?
Authors: Montgomery, Allan
Keywords: Community Based Human Health and Environmental Risk Assessment;grounded theory;Strauss and Anselm;site-specific standard;lowest observable effects level;National Pollution Release Inventory;Port Colborne class action lawsuit;Environmental Commissioner of Ontario;Environmental Bill of Rights;Inco;Falconbridge;Xstrata;Glencore;cancer incidence;cancer mortality;Local Health Integration Network;Sudbury and District Health Unit;Ontario Ministry of the Environment;Environment Canada;Belledune, New Brunswick;Port Colborne, Ontario;Sudbury, Ontario;Chernobyl;Fukushima;Spanish River Harbour
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2019
Abstract: Human Health and Environmental Risk Assessments are being used by both governments and industries to determine whether or not existing and/or proposed pollution levels are safe for human populations and/or the natural environment. My personal experiences with a “Community Based Risk Assessment” in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, left me rather doubtful as to the validity of both the science involved and the level of community involvement in the process. After meeting other people who had participated in the same kind of process in other communities, I came to the conclusion that these three risk assessments needed to be analyzed and chronicled, not only for historical purposes, but as a reference to how the process was carried out in the three communities in question: Sudbury and Port Colborne, Ontario, and Belledune, New Brunswick. The risk assessment in Sudbury, Ontario, resulted in the highest permissible levels of ambient nickel air pollution in the province to become the norm only for Sudbury. Of note, extensive water pollution of multiple heavy metals was left out, at the insistence of the mining industry polluters, who not only funded the process, but were allowed to be involved. The Government of Canada would later charge one of the polluters, Vale, for allowing exactly this kind of pollution to occur. Areas of the Belledune fishery are now unfit for human consumption after being subjected to “risk free” pollution; however, rather than close the lobster fishery, all lobsters caught within a 4-mile radius of the smelter in Belledune, are bought by the polluter, and then incinerated, rather than face the public relations fallout of having to close the fishery. Another case in point concerning contamination levels being increased to match local levels, as opposed to recognized standards, is the case of the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan. The accident occurred while research into the three CBRAs mentioned was being carried out. These cases clearly indicate human health and environmental risk assessments are a political process, not a scientific one, and meant to match whatever form and level of local contamination was occurring, in order to keep corporate profits and government tax revenues flowing, despite the very real risks to human health and the environment
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses
Sociology / Sociologie - Master's Theses

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