Report on chromium released (10/02/12)

NB 203

Feb. 12, 2010

FREDERICTON (CNB) - An independent review of exposure to chromium in a Fredericton area community shows that it is at the same level found in the average local population.

The Department of Health had ChemRisk Canada evaluate chromium levels in the blood of residents of the Evergreen Park community, and compare them to a control group which had no exposure to the area. The tests were ordered following an industrial spill that occurred nearby in October 2008.

"The results showed that there was no difference in the average chromium levels between the two groups,"said deputy chief medical officer of health Paul Van Buynder. "The results suggest there is no current exposure to chromium in the resident group and no health implications from the previous spill."

Van Buynder explained that everyone has measurable levels of chromium in their blood as it is essential for life and exists in many types of food. However, not all chromium is the same and this is reflected in different blood tests.

"The chromium associated with cancer studies is hexavalent chromium and this is best tested by looking at the chromium within red blood cells," Van Buynder said. "The other chromium, trivalent chromium, is not associated with significant health issues and its levels are determined by testing plasma chromium instead. This study looked at chromium levels in both plasma and red blood cells for both groups, and no health risks were identified."

The full report is available online.


MEDIA CONTACT: Danielle Phillips, communications, Department of Health, 506-444-3821.