Newfoundland Town of 800 People Told to Get Tested for Dangerously High Levels of Mining Toxins

BUCHANS, Newfoundland, Oct. 7 (UPI) — An entire town of 800 people in Newfoundland has been urged by health authorities to get blood tests for lead poisoning from a now-closed lead and zinc mine.

At a community meeting, three provincial cabinet ministers told the shocked residents of Buchans preliminary soil samples show “dangerously high” levels of lead in and around the five-square mile mine site, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday.

Arsenic, copper and uranium and six other chemicals were found in soil samples taken during the summer, the report said.

One of the former part-owners of the mine, which closed in the 1980s, was AbitibiBowater, which had plans to clean up the site until it filed for bankruptcy protection this year.

Health Minister Paul Oram said everyone in the town should have blood tests done, as the toxins have been leaching for decades.

“The tests that we’ve done, or that environment has done thus far, have shown … that there’s reason to be concerned,” he told the meeting.

The ministers said more testing would be done and the province would begin its own cleanup next spring, the CBC said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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