The Project is called “Traditional Dietary Exposure to POPs and Toxic Metals in First Nations Hunted Wild Game and Meats in all 9 First Nations of Eeyou Istchee.” The project began March 2016, The project will last for three years.

A concern was raised by the members of the Cree Trappers’ Association (CTA) that contaminant loadings of commonly consumed traditional wild hunted game was not known in Eeyou Istchee region of Quebec, Canada. In response to this the Cree Trappers’ Association (President, Willie Gunner) by Partnering Organizations (Ryerson University and University of Toronto). An application was submitted to the National First Nations Environmental Contaminants Program (NFNECP) and was awarded by Health Canada.

Health Canada provides funding for the FNECP to help First Nations communities improve their health. The program supports these communities in identifying, understanding and reducing the impact of exposure to environmental hazards.

While body burdens of some environmental contaminants have already been reported (eg., Liberda et al., 2014a, Liberda et al., 2014b, Charania et al., 2014) from the The Nituuchischaayihtitaau Aschii study, and more article are currently being prepared, a major literature gap still remains. It is currently unknown what concentrations of environmental contaminants are in traditionally hunted wild game and meats in Eeyou Istchee. This knowledge gap needs to be addressed since a traditional diet is primary route of exposure for these communities

The proposed project has 4 main objectives:

1) To assess concentrations of POPs and toxic metals in traditionally hunted wild game and meats in Eeyou Istchee
2) To perform a quantitative risk assessment of POPs and toxic metals using the existing dietary recall survey conducted in the Nituuchischaayihtitaau Aschii study
3) To facilitate communication and training for capacity building by:
a. Raising awareness about environment and health issues related to hunting (eg., lead shot use)
b. Building local capacity for key environmental health issues (eg., lead shot reduction program)
c. Identifying at-risk species (eg. heavily contaminated species and recommendations for cooking preparations prior to consumption to reduce contaminant load)
4) To develop a long-term sample collection and storage program for hunted wild game and meats

The results of this project will be directly communicated to the First Nations communities of Eeyou Istchee by the generation of a plain language report in partnership with the Cree Trappers’ Association. In addition, the researchers will work with the CTA to educate hunters about exposures. Lastly, the report will be published in academic literature (ie. journal articles) and at related conferences (eg. Society of Toxicology and Canadian Society of Toxicology).