Traditional Food Consumption Study Initiated in Municipality of Wood Buffalo



    FORT MCMURRAY, AB, Nov. 8 /CNW/ - The Cumulative Environmental Management
Association (CEMA) is pleased to announce that research will begin next week
on a Traditional Food Consumption Study, involving Aboriginal Peoples in the
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.
    Local community coordinators and interviews are in place to run from
November 13 through December 1, 2007 in the communities of Conklin, Fort
Chipewyan, Fort McKay and Fort McMurray.
    The Trace Metals and Air Containments (TMAC) Working Group of CEMA had
recommended that a further evaluation of the traditional food being eaten by
Aboriginal Peoples is this region was essential. CEMA has hired 4 community
coordinators and 3 dieticians have been assigned to work with the designated
communities. The draft report of this study will be submitted to TMAC in March
2008.
    CEMA is especially thankful for the cooperation of the Aboriginal
communities of Conklin Métis local No.193, Fort Chipewayn Métis local No. 125,
Fort McKay First Nations and Métis local No. 63 and Fort McMurray Métis local
No. 2020
    "The excellent research being conducted through this study is another
example of the important work of CEMA and it's Working Groups" added CEMA
President Randall Barrett. "CEMA is adapting to the ever growing challenges of
development in the region and it affects on First Nations and Métis
communities."

    CEMA is a nonprofit Association based in Fort McMurray; Alberta CEMA's
mandate is to study the environmental effects of industrial development in the
region. TMAC Working Group is responsible for assessing and managing risks to
human health and ecosystems posed by trace metals and air contaminants.

    www.cemaonline.ca



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    BACKGROUNDER
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    The Trace Metals and Air Contaminants Working Group (TMAC) is an
important component of the Cumulative Environmental Management Association
(CEMA). The purpose of TMAC is to assess the risks posed by trace metals and
air contaminants to human health and ecosystems under existing environmental
management systems, and if required, recommend changes to adequately manage
those risks.
    In a recent literature review and evaluation of human health risk
assessments, the lack of accurate documentation on the quantity and type of
traditional food consumed in the region and the subsequent assumptions used in
place of local information, were identified as major sources of uncertainty.
Therefore, last year TMAC began to investigate whether or not a food
consumption study would be feasible.
    Based on the feasibility study and the initial conversations conducted,
TMAC decided to proceed with the project and have received a budget from CEMA.
The project is designed to collect representative information of the types of
traditional foods consumed and the amounts and seasonality of consumption.
This information will then be available for use in risk assessments completed
in the region, and for other regional studies and initiatives.
    A secondary objective of the study is to record, during the interviews,
whatever concerns people express about their health or the health of the
environment. This information will be used by TMAC in the development of the
management framework to ensure that the issues of greatest importance to
people are addressed in the framework.
    In order to carry out the interview process CEMA hired four community
coordinators. The coordinators were trained on the interview process and are
responsible for interviews in each community. The interviewers were trained on
how to guide people through the questionnaire and effectively and accurately
collect food consumption data.
    The coordinator will also be responsible for organizing the data
collection and project management to ensure good quality and timely data
collection.

    
    The anticipated timelines for this project are as follows:

    -  Interviews Conducted - November - December 2007
    -  Data Analysis Complete - Early 2008
    -  Draft Report Complete - March 2008
    -  Final Report Complete - May 2008
    

    TMAC's goal for this project is to obtain data on food consumption while
recording community members concerns about the health of the environment. TMAC
will then recommend that this food consumption data be used in future risk
assessments to reduce uncertainty when quantifying risk. However, there are
other ways in which this information could be used once the project is
complete. Each community could use this information as the basis for their own
research or for education projects.





For further information:

For further information: Corey Hobbs, Communications Advisor, Cumulative
Environmental Management Association, (780) 799-3912,
Corey.hobbs@cemaonline.ca

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