Residents in some of Canada’s largest industrial cities have wondered whether toxins from petrochemical plants and other manufacturers are making them sick for many years.
A new peer-reviewed McGill University study has found “strikingly high” rates of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in Canadian border towns, including Sarnia, Ont., a city whose manufacturing sector is referred to as Canada’s Chemical Valley.
The study reviewed 18,085 Canadian cases of AML between 1992 and 2010. It found hot spots for this type of leukaemia in several Canadian cities, including Hamilton, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sarnia and St. Catharines.
Local residents in Sarnia have long been raising public health concerns about the impacts of industrial pollution. The city is surrounded by 57 companies which are registered to emit pollutants, including oil refineries and other chemical plants on either side of the U.S.-Canada border.