The Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity of Arsenic in Mine Waste Soils on the Earthworm (Eisenia fetida andrei)

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: contaminants, mining impacts, ecological indicators, soil, arsenic, toxicology

Principal Investigator: Wong, Stephen (1)
Licence Number: 13265
Organization: McGill University
Licenced Year(s): 2001
Issued: Oct 05, 2001
Project Team: Geoffrey Sunahara, Laurie Chan

Objective(s): Soil contamination is a pervasive and persistent problem throughout the world. Earthworms, as a major constituent of the animal component in soil, can be used as test organisms to determine the actual biological effects of contaminants in soil. This project will attempt to study the toxicity of soil contamination on earthworms using a standardized test. The experiments will be carried out using soil contaminated with arsenic from gold mine tailings, in addition to soil that has been artificially contaminated with arsenic. Arsenic is a known toxicant. The proposed research will have applications in the following areas: risk identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterization and good science-based decision making.

Project Description: The research team will examine soils which will be collected by DIAND Contaminants Division staff from Yellowknife. Approximately 20 kg of contaminated soil will be collected from a site close to the Con Mine. As well, approximately 80 kg of uncontaminated soil (for use as a reference soil) will be collected from a site adjacent to the Rae Highway. All soils will be returned to a laboratory at McGill University in Montreal for detailed toxicity analysis. No field camps will be used, any garbage generated in the field (such as waste from lunches for the collection crew) will be packed out, and all human waste generated will be buried.