Monitoring Temporal Trends of Human Environmental Contaminants in the NWT and Nunavut

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: contaminants, health, heavy metal, pregnancy, prenatal health, organochlorines

Principal Investigator: Beveridge, Christopher (1)
Licence Number: 13973
Organization: Stanton Territorial Health Authority - Environmental Health Services
Licensed Year(s): 2006 2005
Issued: May 04, 2006
Project Team: Ms. Barb Armstong (Project Coordinator), Erica Myles (Consultant, AXYS Environmental Consulting Ltd), Karen Tofflemire (Consultant, Calgary Regional Health Authority)

Project Description: The overall goal of this program is to establish a time trend of specific environmental contaminants in human blood and hair. A baseline study was completed in the Inuvik region in 1999–2000. A follow-up assessment to this baseline study will be undertaken this year to observe human exposure to specific contaminants across a representative cross-section of moderately and highly exposed regions (Inuvik and Baffin regions). Information on dietary habits will also be collected this year to describe the connections between contaminant exposure, the frequency of consumption of traditional/country foods, and selected lifestyle factors. It is hoped that the results of this study will strengthen national and international efforts to limit the global pollution that affects northern people. Information collected about lifestyle during pregnancy will help to explain relationships between lifestyle and exposure to environmental contaminants, and to promote healthy pregnancies and babies in the Inuvik region.

Pregnant women will be recruited as research participants at their home health centres. When each participant arrives in Inuvik to give birth or to undergo a prenatal appointment, she will be interviewed for information pertaining to lifestyle and diet during her pregnancy. Informed consent will be obtained from each participant agreeing to provide a hair and blood sample. Blood samples will be obtained during a normally-scheduled blood draw, and will be sent to the Centre de Toxicologie du Quebec for organochlorine, heavy metal, and trace element analyses. Hair samples will be sent to Health Canada for mercury analysis.

Interviews and hair and blood sampling will be conducted at the Inuvik Regional Hospital from May 4 to December 31, 2006.