Oil and gas industry has no impact on health in northeastern B.C.: report

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VANCOUVER - Health risks associated with oil and gas activity in the British Columbia's northeastern communities are low, according to a newly released report from the provincial Health Ministry.

Health Minister Terry Lake says the report concludes that existing regulations protect public health, but it also makes 14 recommendations including improvements to emergency planning zones, groundwater testing and air quality objectives.

Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. conducted the research, which represents the final phase of an evaluation of human health concerns related to the oil and gas industry.

The first phase released in 2012 detailed the concerns of residents who believed their health problems — among them asthma, bronchitis, sinus issues and cancer — were linked to industry activities including fracking.

The report released Thursday was meant to assess whether these concerns were scientifically valid, and it looked at potential long-term exposures residents faced through locally grown foods and drinking water.

But West Moberly First Nations Chief Roland Willson is calling the report "embarrassing," saying the investigation overlooked key areas in order to support the expansion of the oil and gas industry.

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