Exposure of a Cree population living near mine tailings in northern Quebec (Canada) to metals and metalloids.


The authors investigated the effect of residues from copper- and gold-mining on the Cree population of Ouje-Bougoumou, located 560 km north of Quebec City, Canada. Subjects (225) from Ouje-Bougoumou and a control population (100) completed a questionnaire on lifestyle and dietary habits and provided blood and urine samples for analysis. Geometric means of arsenic, lead, cadmium, and copper concentrations were not significantly different for subjects or controls 15 yr and older or children (8-14 yr old). However, blood zinc was higher and selenium was lower in Ouje-Bougoumou samples. Mean blood lead level was higher in children from Ouje-Bougoumou, but lower in adults aged 40 yr and older. For adults (15 yr and older) blood lead level increased with age and was higher in men, those who hunted, and consumed wild meat (R2 = 0.43). Blood cadmium increased with age and smoking (R2 = 0.61). No influence of mine residues was observed among residents of Ouje-Bougoumou, but lifestyle exposure associations were noted for both communities