Acceptable Level of Human Health Risk Resulting from Smelter Contaminants in the Trail Area (Ames, 2001)

This report was prepared by the local medical health officer, Dr. Nelson Ames, who had been closely involved in studying and recommending actions to address childhood lead exposure in Trail, starting with his involvement in the 1989 Trail Lead Study as a Masters in Public Health student at UBC. Ames summarized critical factors in determining ‘acceptable’ health risk from substances in the environment, the current state of knowledge on the issue in Trail based on studies conducted to that point, as well as international standards, experiences and expert opinions. In addition, Dr. Ames described the extensive community engagement and consultation processes in Trail to that point.

Dr. Ames concluded that the estimated current health risks posed by lead, arsenic and other smelter-related contaminants in the Trail environment are acceptable in the context of continuous, ongoing improvements and that the priority in the following years should be to further reduce air emissions of lead and arsenic, in particular. He expressed support for the recommendations of the Trail Community Lead Task Force and recommended that if children’s blood lead levels and calculated risks from arsenic in air did not continue to improve to reach stated goals, that the remediation plan should be formally reviewed and adjusted as needed, with local and outside experts.

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