Safe Food and Sustainable Agriculture

Experts selected to lead oil sands monitoring

Edmonton... Twelve independent experts from across North America have been chosen to help create a world-class environmental monitoring system for Alberta’s oil sands.

“I am committed to ensuring we have a robust, credible, and transparent environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting system in the province, beginning with the oil sands region,” said Rob Renner, Minister of Environment. “This extremely accomplished group of individuals, who have significant experience and wide-ranging expertise, will deliver on this important initiative.” ... Read more »

Athabasca River contamination affecting traditional hunting, fishing: report

EDMONTON — Falling water levels and contaminants in the Athabasca River are cutting First Nations people off from traditional hunting, fishing and trapping lands and taking away their treaty rights, says a report released Thursday.

The report's main author said this is the first time the river's declining flow and water quality have been studied in the context of aboriginal treaty rights.

"If people cannot move around the territories by boat and by water, then they cannot practise their traditions, their culture, their rights," Craig Candler told a press conference Thursday.

Worries about contaminated fish and meat from animals such as moose "are having direct effects on how people are able to use the land and are able to practise their rights," Candler said.... Read more »

Canned Food Seals in BPA

There are traces of the worrisome chemical BPA in a wide variety of canned foods from supermarket shelves, found a new study. BPA is also present in products packaged in plastic and in one sample from the deli counter.

The study, which was the first to measure levels of BPA in grocery store foods in the United States, suggests that food -- especially canned food -- might be one major route that BPA uses to get into our bodies.

The chemical, also known as bisphenol A, has been linked to all sorts of health concerns, including heart disease, cancers, and developmental problems. One new study linked higher levels of BPA exposure with lower levels of sperm in men.

The amounts of BPA found in the food samples were far lower than recommended limits, but that shouldn't necessarily offer much comfort, said lead researcher Arnold Schecter, a public health physician at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Dallas.... Read more »

Alberta premier makes travel plans for Fort Chipewyan

EDMONTON – Premier Ed Stelmach announced Thursday he will visit Fort Chipewyan after University of Alberta student advocates presented him with a round-trip ticket.

It will be Stelmach's first trip to the northern Alberta hamlet, where some residents insist they are being poisoned by oilsands contaminants.

Students from Stand With Fort Chipewyan delivered a $220 plane ticket just one day after Stelmach announced he will spend $84,000 to travel to India with his wife. Elders from the Mikisew Cree Nation joined students for the ticket presentation.

"He is advocating, obviously, for the wrong Indians -- no pun intended," said George Poitras, former chief of the Mikisew Cree Nation.

"He is spending $80,000 plus to go to India, I think it is a very sad commentary on his priorities."... Read more »

High exposure to BPA linked to low sperm count

CHICAGO – Chinese factory workers exposed to high levels of the plastics chemical BPA had low sperm counts, according to the first human study to tie it to poor semen quality.

The study is the latest to raise health questions about bisphenol-A and comes two weeks after Canada published a final order adding the chemical to its list of toxic substances.

Whether the relatively low sperm counts and other signs of poor semen quality translate to reduced fertility is not known. Study author Dr. De-Kun Li, a scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., noted that even men with extremely low sperm counts can father children.

But Li said finding that BPA may affect sperm is troubling because it echoes studies in animals and follows his previous research in the same men that linked BPA exposure with sexual problems.... Read more »

            

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