Results of Biomonitoring Project 2011-2012

Recently, many residents of Fort Chipewyan have expressed concern about changes in the environment and in the health of animals and people. In June 2011 the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, ACFN, and Mikisew Cree First Nation, MCFN, invited the University of Manitoba to collaborate on a study of animals and water in the Peace/Athabasca delta to determine what contaminants they may contain and whether they pose a risk to human health. Click to Download the full pamphlet .


The completed research included

– Traditional Knowledge

– Veterinary Analysis

– Laboratory Contaminant Analysis


PAHs (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) closely linked with industry and can cause health problems in animals and people at low levels. No PAHs were detected in the tissues of moose, duck or muskrats we examined. Heavy metals Although some heavy metals were found in the meat of moose, muskrat and duck the levels were very low for muscle tissue.

Eating muscle in these animals appears safe.

-Kidney and liver in moose and duck contained the highest levels of heavy metals.
-Adults can eat up to 1.6 kg of duck kidney, 0.42 kg of moose kidney or 3.2 kg of moose liver per week safely.
-Women who may become pregnant can eat 1.5 kg of duck kidney, .4 kg of moose kidney or 2.8 kg of moose liver per week.
-Children (ages 5-11 years) can eat .6 kg of duck kidney, .1 kg of moose kidney or 1.2 kg of moose liver per week.

Future research

-This collaboration will continue in the future.  In addition to biomonitoring we will investigate human health indicators.
-Our next report will contain analysis of wildlife, water and plants.

Funding for this project was provided by:
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation;
Mikisew Cree First Nation; Health Canada
[Alberta First Nation Environmental Contaminants]; SSHRC; PrioNet Canada.

Details on our research can be found in our Phase One Report.
For additional information contact: Dr. Stefane McLachan (204) 474—9316; MCFN GIR: (780) 697-3747; ACFN IRC: (780) 697-3903; Bruce McLean: (204) 770 4501
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About Jonathan

Jonathan Ventura is the web assistant with One River, Many Relations. His formal education in environmental policy & law, as well as his passion and experience in community based research and mobilization brings a unique perspective to the project.
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