In the northern Quebec, there are about 11,000 Inuit, the most
highly exposed population in the world to PCB and mercury
pollution. Air-borne contaminants from the south fall in northern
areas and bioaccumulate in the animals that Inuit eat. Burning coal
is the largest source of mercury. A Quebec researcher, Gina
Muckle, has now proven that babies with higher levels of lead
and mercury in cord blood grow up to be children with higher rates
of ADHD. Symptoms include: inattention difficulties in school,
aggressive behaviors, non-respect of rules and hyperactivity.
We do not know how much of the much-discussed violence in
aboriginal communities is due to this type of pollution.
Prof. Muckle has so far followed a cohort of babies from birth
to age 11.
She found that children with higher cord mercury concentrations
at birth were about 3 times more likely to be classified by their
teacher as exhibiting the inattentive type of ADHD. Children with
higher lead levels at birth were four to five times more
likely to be classified with hyperactive impulsivity, and had
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