Soil Analysis Report Released
Sydney Tar Ponds Agency
Link to NS Gov. site
Fri., July 30, 2004
Dr. Jeff Scott, provincial medical officer of health, says a new
statistical analysis of soil sampling programs supports his
earlier conclusion that Sydney is as safe a place to live as any
similar urban community in Nova Scotia.
"When it comes to environmental causes of ill-health, soil is one
of the least likely pathways for harmful exposure," Dr. Scott
said today, July 30. He and Dr. Charl Badenhorst, district
medical officer of Health for Cape Breton, also offered "prudent"
recommendations for limiting exposure.
They were responding to a statistical analysis that compared soil
samples collected in Sydney and North Sydney with soil samples
collected during the 2001 Chronic Health Risk Assessment in the
neighbourhood next to the Coke Ovens.
Dr. Scott requested the analysis, carried out by JDAC
Environment, a consortium of engineering companies, to see if
conditions in any other Sydney neighbourhoods warranted further
North Sydney was chosen for comparison because it has a history
of urban activities similar to Sydney's, but no history of steel
and coke production -- which some environmentalists blame for
contamination of Sydney soils.
The statistical analysis found that chemical concentrations in
most of Sydney are similar to, or lower than, those in North
Sydney. However, parts of the north end, Railway Street, and
Victoria Road had average concentrations of some chemicals
comparable to, but not higher than, the neighbourhood north of
the Coke Ovens.
JDAC also looked for patterns that might show whether soil
contamination was connected to fallout from SYSCO. They found no
definitive correlation between industrial emissions and soil
chemistry, suggesting that the soil chemicals are not due
entirely to steel making operations.
Drs. Scott and Badenhorst concluded that further study of soil
concentrations is not merited except in connection with on-site
cleanup activities. They recommended that the district health
authority continue education programs on the safe disposal of
chemical sources such as ashes, and on ways to reduce intake of
They recommended that the Tar Ponds cleanup be "planned and
conducted to ensure that increased exposure to chemicals does not
take place," and said cleanup planners should use information
gathered about offsite contamination to seek "opportunities for
reducing existing exposures where feasible."
Copies of the complete JDAC report, a brief summary of the report
and the response of the medical officers of health, can be
downloaded from the Tar Ponds website, http://gov.ns.ca/stpa/.
The reports are stored in the Library section, under the subject,
Soil Study Summary (60K)
Please note: The complete study on the STPA site is a 21Meg PDF file