CALGARY, Alberta, Aug. 30 (UPI) — Oil sands mining in Canada is polluting the Athabasca River with metals known to be toxic at even low concentrations, a team of university researchers says.
University of Alberta scientists say elements being discharged by mining operations into the Athabasca include mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium, all toxic even at trace levels, a university release said Monday.
“The U of A study was deliberately designed to test claims by industry and Alberta politicians that all contaminants in the river are from natural sources,” David Schindler of the school’s department of biological sciences said.
“Rather than pollutants increasing continuously downstream in the river due to natural sources, as government has claimed, concentrations of the majority of toxins were always highest near sites of industrial activity,” Schindler said.
“The releases are in clear violation of … the Fisheries Act, which prohibits discharge of toxins in any quantity into fish-bearing waters,” he said.
The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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