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Sudbury Soils Study
Posted July 21, 2005 10:08:00 AM


SUDBURY, ON – With just a small number of environmental samples left to be analyzed this summer, the Sudbury Soils Study is entering its final stages, which will culminate with the release of a three-volume, peer-reviewed report expected by mid-2006. The Study is assessing risks to human health and the ecosystem from six elements present in the Sudbury environment: arsenic, selenium, nickel, copper, cobalt, and lead.

The first of three draft volumes was provided to the study’s Technical Committee (TC) for their 60-day review last week, with comments due by September. This document summarizes the background to the Sudbury Area Risk Assessment (SARA), including the 2001 Sudbury Soils Study, community profile information, the legacy of mining and smelting in the area, and past environmental initiatives.

The second volume of the report will focus on the human health risk assessment (HHRA), while the final volume will provide the results of the ecological risk assessment (ERA). If unacceptable risks to human health and/or the ecosystem are identified, a fourth volume may be included, outlining the SARA Group’s recommendations for risk management. All reports will be provided to the TC in draft form by this fall, and the TC review is expected to be completed by December.

“The reports undergo a very rigorous technical and scientific review process before they can be released as final documents,” said Dr. Christopher Wren, Director of the SARA Group undertaking the study. “Following this first review stage, we will make any necessary revisions that may be required by the various partners in the study.” The Technical Committee includes representatives from the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE), the Sudbury & District Health Unit, the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada, the City of Greater Sudbury, Inco, and Falconbridge.

After this initial review is completed to the satisfaction of the TC, the final draft reports will be assessed by an international expert review panel that is being coordinated by the Toxicology Excellence in Risk Assessment (TERA) Group of Cincinnati, Ohio. Members of the international panel are experts in human health and ecological risk assessment. The study results will be released to the public following this final independent peer review.

The Sudbury Soils Study is one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind ever conducted in Canada. Thousands of soil, air, water, vegetable, livestock and fish samples are being analysed for the presence of certain metals that may be associated with the legacy of mining in the Sudbury area. From these assessments, and related studies, environmental scientists will determine risk to human health and the natural environment.

The next TC meetings for the Sudbury Soils Study will be held Thursday, August 11, and Thursday, September 8, 2005, with public sessions from 9:30 to 10:30 am, in Boardroom C/D of the Provincial Building, 199 Larch Street. The next Program Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 20, 2005 (location to be announced). To be considered on the agenda of TC and/or PAC meetings, contact John Hogenbirk, PAC Chair, at 705-675-1151, ext. 3435 or via e-mail at, or contact the SARA Group at 1-866-315-0228 or via e-mail at

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For more information, contact:

For more information please contact
SARA Group director, Chris Wren at
1-519-766-1039 or 1-866-315-0228.

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