Monday, August 4, 2003 Link To Herald The Halifax Herald Limited

Tarponds study scrapped

SYDNEY - McMaster University researcher Dr. Bruce Wainman confirmed Friday that Health Canada is cancelling a study on reproductive and psychosexual health relating to Sydney's tarponds and coke ovens.

A letter to Dr. Wainman, a senior researcher with the McMaster-University College of Cape Breton project, says Ottawa didn't believe there were enough participants for it to continue.

But Dr. Wainman said Health Canada only wanted 160 participants by July 31, which were secured.

"It's very strange," he said of the two-year study. "It was so close to being finished. The study was expected to end in September."

It is still unclear if any data from those two years will be analysed and reported.

The study focused on tracking rates of early pregnancy, measuring levels of contaminants in blood and tissue samples taken from pregnant women and newborns, and recording residents' perceptions of reproductive health in the area.

The study was requested by the Joint Action Group. But JAG is slated to disband before the project's September conclusion.