Researcher says symptoms of mercury contamination rising in some Ont. natives
WINNIPEG (CP) - A renowned Japanese neurologist who sounded the alarm decades ago about mercury poisoning in residents of two northern Ontario aboriginal bands says some people there are experiencing an increase in symptoms even though the chemical's level is dropping in their bodies.
Dr. Masazumi Harada visited Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemong reserves over the last week. On Thursday, he said while mercury levels in band members - measured through hair samples - are dropping, some residents' symptoms from long-term exposure, such are impaired motor skills and fatigue, are increasing.
Harada's findings prompted the reserves' leaders to call on the federal and Ontario governments to launch a public inquiry.
"It should not be the Canadian way to permit this . . . . to linger any longer," Grassy Narrows chief Simon Fobister told reporters.
"If this was a Walkerton . . . . governments would have acted much more swiftly and decisively," Fobister said.