MEMS conducted human health risk assessments for a number of abandoned, non-uranium mine sites in northern Saskatchewan. We were part of a team of consultants working for the province to assess and understand the environmental liabilities of these sites.
Even though the sites are in remote areas, there is still human activity in adjacent areas. MEMS contributed to the site investigation plans and used the resulting data to assess human health risks from direct exposure to impacted soil, waste and tailings, as well as ingestion of berries and other country foods, exposure through water, and fishing. Approaches used included bioaccessibility testing to realistically account for absorption of metals from soil after ingestion, direct measurement of metals in food sources including arsenic speciation, and evaluation of short-term and intermittent exposures using draft Health Canada guidance.
MEMS was responsible for:
- evaluation of historical data;
- contributing to site investigation plans;
- development of a conceptual site model for human exposure;
- modelling of chemical exposure through multiple exposure pathways;
- characterizing human health risks; and
- participation in client/regulator meetings.