Petition update

Short Term Tests Do Not Prevent Damage to Fish

Northumberland Strait Sportfishing Association

Jul 24, 2018 — In the early 1990s, many Canadian pulp and paper mills implemented process changes to comply with new regulations that came into effect in 1993. These regulations placed stricter guidelines on a number of parameters in effluent discharges, including limits on acute toxicity, on the discharges of suspended solids, and on biochemical oxygen demand. To meet these new regulations, many of the older Canadian pulp and paper mills had to install secondary treatment systems. The investment by the Canadian pulp and paper industry was in excess of $5 billion, and the implementation of the new regulations and the process changes took several years. The new regulations were an extension of regulations designed in the early 1970s and were not designed specifically to address the reproductive responses recently reported in fish collected downstream of mills in Scandinavia and North America

These studies have shown that the existing short‐term bioassays do not adequately predict the potential of bleach kraft pulp mill effluent to affect reproduction in wild fish. A bioassay is an analytical method to determine concentration or potency of a substance by its effect on living cells or tissues. Laboratory testing using fathead minnows exposed over a full life cycle confirmed depression in sex steroid production, delay in sexual maturity, reduced egg production, and changes in secondary sex characteristics documented at some sites. The studies demonstrated that both steroid hormone changes and induction of liver detoxification enzymes take place quickly. While short‐term exposures can predict the potential of some effluents to impact steroid hormone production, there is no readily available assay that can be widely applied.

The moral of the story is - Short term testing DOES NOT accurately show all the risks and damage that happens to fish species when exposed to years of bioaccumulation of bleach kraft pulp mill effluent.

Take Action: Write a letter and sign the below House of Commons petition


National Water Research Institute, Environment Canada, Department of Fisheries, Dept of Zoology – University of Guelph
K.R. Munkittrick ,M. E. McMaster, L.H. McCarthy, M. R. Servos ,G. J. Van Der Kraak

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