Canadian journal of public health = Revue canadienne de sante publique [Can J Public Health] 2002 Sep-Oct; Vol. 93 Suppl 1, pp. S57-61.
Ecosystem, Epidemiological Monitoring, Great Lakes Region epidemiology, Humans, Public Health, Water Pollutants, Chemical adverse effects, Environmental Monitoring methods, Hazardous Substances, Health Status Indicators, and Sentinel Surveillance
The presence of toxic substances in the Great Lakes (GL) basin continues to be a significant concern. In the United States, some 70,000 commercial and industrial compounds are now in use. More than 30,000 are produced or used in the Great Lakes ecosystem. These substances include organochlorines (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, furans, dieldrin, etc.), heavy metals such as methylmercury, and alkylated lead, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (e.g., benzo[a]pyrene). The IJC has identified 42 locations in the GL basin of the United States and Canada as Areas of Concern (AOCs) because of high concentrations of these toxic substances. In 1990 the U.S. Congress amended the Great Lakes Critical Programs Act to create The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Great Lakes Human Health Effects Research Program (GLHHERP) to begin to address these issues. This program characterizes exposures to contaminants via consumption of GL fish and investigates the potential for short- and long-term adverse health effects. This paper reviews the GLHHERP program and indicators established to monitor and address the risks posed by these substances to vulnerable populations in the Great Lakes ecosystem.