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High mercury levels form ’bull’s-eye’ around oilsands: study

FORT MCMURRAY — An Environment Canada study has found elevated levels of mercury in a bull’s-eye centred on Alberta’s oilsands developments.

Levels of the potent neurotoxin are about 10 times higher than normal in the most affected area — about 60 kilometres north of Fort McMurray and a little east of the community of Fort McKay.

Although levels quickly drop off, scientists found that almost 17,000 square kilometres have been affected by elevated mercury deposits.

The study says the deposits probably come from industry.

The mercury levels remain well below federal guidelines.

But researchers conclude that more study is needed to understand how the toxin is accumulating in plants and animals.



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