7.4
FISH AND WILDLIFE HEALTH EFFECTS AND EXPOSURE STUDY
7.4.1
Information
I
n 1998, Health Canada released data on the recent
health of Canadians living in the 17 Canadian Areas of
Concern relative to that of the province of Ontario as a
whole.  In 2001, Environment Canada initiated the Fish and
Wildlife Health Effects and Exposure Study in Canadian Areas
of Concern to determine if there are currently health effects in
fish and wildlife that are associated with contaminants in the
aquatic environment. There has been longstanding interest in
understanding the origins and levels of toxic contaminants
and their effects on animals in the Great Lakes by the SAB.
While programs to monitor levels of persistent toxic chemi-
cals are well established in the Great Lakes and show signifi-
cant reductions in most traditionally measured chemicals,
research on fish and wildlife health effects has been less
measures of reproductive health;
extensive and no systematic monitoring of health effects
status of the endocrine system including thyroid
occurs.  Phase I (2001-2005) will investigate conditions in the
structure and function, and stress response hormones;
Canadian Areas of Concern of the lower Great Lakes. Upon
diagnostic measures if organ function, including liver,
completion, the need for assessments at Areas of Concern in
kidney, pancreas, and bone; and
the upper Great Lakes will be determined.  The objectives of
tests for immune function.
the Environment Canada study are to:
Preliminary results of this study show that the health of
1.
Document health effects in fish and wildlife by measur-
wildlife in several of the Canadian Areas of Concern was
ing endpoints that are fundamental to the development, affected in 2001.  Results for the investigations of fish
growth and reproduction of individuals and popula-
health are not yet available. Effects on reproduction,
tions. A range of endpoints were chosen on the basis of
endocrine and immune function occurred in both birds
sensitivity to chemical exposure, tangible results in
and turtles, and were similar to some of the effects re-
previous studies, and economy of time and resources, to ported for human populations in some Canadian Areas of
detect effects at the population, individual and subcellu- Concern.  This work shows the value of, and need for, on-
lar levels.
going health effects monitoring in Areas of Concern and
other contaminated areas in the Great Lakes basin, and in
2.
Gather current environmental exposure data in water,
building a workable model.
fish and wildlife in Areas of Concern. In addition to
measuring persistent organic pollutants, such as
organochlorines, evaluate techniques in analytical
7.4.2
Possible Future Directions
chemistry to measure less persistent chemicals that may
be present in fish and wildlife and determine environ-
Given that Environment Canada’s Fish and Wildlife Health
mental exposure.
Effects and Exposure Study has clearly shown that the
health of herring gulls and/or snapping turtles is affected in
3.
Integrate and assess findings in lake-by-lake reports,
several of the Canadian Areas of Concern, the SAB suggests
making recommendations for long-term monitoring
that work employing a similar set of sensitive endpoints be
strategies, if required.
undertaken on these species in other Areas of Concern and
contaminated areas in the Great Lakes.  In particular, in the
Health indicators chosen include:
United States Areas of Concern were persistent toxic
substances are a problem, including Green Bay and
population trends over time across the Great Lakes
Saginaw Bay.
basin;
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