Cancer risk to First Nations’ people from exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons near in-situ bitumen extraction in Cold Lake, Alberta

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Title: Cancer risk to First Nations’ people from exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons near in-situ bitumen extraction in Cold Lake, Alberta
Authors: Irvine, Graham M
Blais, Jules M
Doyle, James R
Kimpe, Linda E
White, Paul A
Date: 2014-02-12
Abstract: Abstract Background The Alberta oil sands are an important economic resource in Canada, but there is growing concern over the environmental and health effects as a result of contaminant releases and exposures. Recent studies have shown a temporal and spatial trend of increased polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations in sediments and snowpack near the Athabasca oil sands operations (i.e., open pit mines), but thus far similar studies have not been done for the Cold Lake region where steam assisted gravity drainage (in situ) extraction is performed. Methods Many PAHs are known mutagenic carcinogens, and this study measured soil and atmospheric concentrations of PAHs in the Cold Lake region to assess the excess lifetime cancer risk posed to the First Nations’ inhabitants of the region. Using both deterministic and probabilistic risk assessment methods, excess lifetime cancer risks were calculated for exposures from inhalation or inadvertent soil ingestion. Results The mean excess cancer risk for First Nations’ people through ingestion who engage in traditional wilderness activities in the Cold Lake region was 0.02 new cases per 100,000 with an upper 95% risk level of 0.07 cases per 100,000. Exposure to PAHs via inhalation revealed a maximum excess lifetime cancer risk of less than 0.1 cases per 100,000. Conclusions Excess lifetime risk values below 1 case per 100,000 is generally considered negligible, thus our analyses did not demonstrate any significant increases in cancer risks associated with PAH exposures for First Nations people inhabiting the Cold Lake region.
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1476-069X-13-7
http://hdl.handle.net/10393/33812
CollectionLibre accès - Publications // Open Access - Publications
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