OTTAWA, June 26, 2013 /CNW/ - The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) today
released a scientific report on the presence of environmental chemicals
in the adult First Nation population. The report, First Nations Biomonitoring Initiative - National Results, provides a comprehensive set of data on the concentrations of
environmental chemicals found in the First Nation population.
"This is the first nationally representative study of this type to focus
specifically on First Nation people living on-reserve," said AFN
National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. "This report is a valuable tool
in addressing the gap in knowledge about the exposure and
concentrations of environmental chemicals in the First Nation
population. There is much more we need to learn about exposure to
household and industrial chemicals and, as this is the first report,
the data collected will serve as a benchmark for future studies to
determine if changes in the environment are resulting in an increase or
decrease in concentrations of chemicals of concern. This research will
also contribute to the emerging science and research in this area being
conducted throughout the world."
The First Nations Biomonitoring Initiative - National Results is a national survey that collects information relevant to the health
of First Nations people through questionnaires and direct physical
measurements. The biomonitoring component examined the presence of 97
environmental chemicals that were selected based on considerations such
as suspected health risks, level of public concern and comparability
with other studies. These environmental chemicals were selected from a
candidate list of over 200 individual chemicals and groups.
Biomonitoring has become an essential tool in efforts to identify and
control peoples' exposure to environmental chemicals. Human
biomonitoring is the measurement in people of a chemical, the products
it makes after it has broken down or the products that might result
from interactions in the body. Data can be used by scientists to assess
if there are potential health risks from household and industrial
chemicals present in an individual's environment.
"The findings reveal that First Nations people, as with other Canadians,
have traces of environmental chemicals in their body. However, the AFN
wishes to emphasize that a majority of chemicals have no known or
anticipated exceedance guideline to indicate where an adverse health
effect might occur. The study concluded that the levels generally found
in the First Nation population are currently not identified or believed
to pose any immediate health risk," stated Dr. Diego Garcia, AFN's
Public Health Advisor.
The First Nation Biomonitoring Initiative - National Results reveals no significant differences between the levels of trace metals
and other environmental chemicals between First Nations and the
Canadian population, though there are a few exceptions. Cotinine levels
are significantly higher in First Nation participants, likely a result
of a higher percentage of smokers. This is also the likely reason for
significantly higher levels of cadmium in First Nations populations. A
number of chemicals were found to be lower in the First Nation
population, such as several insecticides and pesticides. Other regional
or ecozone anomalies were identified for a number of environmental
chemicals when compared to the overall national exposure levels in the
First Nation population.
The data currently being released was collected in 2011 and includes a
nationally representative sample of 503 First Nations adults aged 20
years and over. The First Nation Biomonitoring Initiative - National Results provides a useful baseline for subsequent longitudinal studies as well
as for the study of specific hotspots or areas of concern.
A copy of the First Nations Biomonitoring Initiative - National Results is available at: www.afn.ca.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms,
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations
For further information:
Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext. 382; 613-292-0857 or email@example.com
Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext. 401; 613-314-8157 or firstname.lastname@example.org