The Akwesasne reservation along the St. Lawrence River has experienced significant exposure to several persistent organic pollutants due to rapid industrialization. The Aluminum Company of America, General Motors, and Reynolds Metals operated aluminum foundries that that used polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as hydraulic fluids, which leaked and were washing down the drain into the rivers or disposed of on their property. This has resulted in the community, the soil, air and water, and their food sources being contaminated with PCBs, persistent organochlorine pesticides, and heavy metals. Epidemiological studies found that exposure to these environmental toxicants are negatively associated with growth and developmental, neurobehavioral health, reproductive health, thyroid function, and increased prevalence of chronic diseases. Fish advisories limited dietary exposure to PCBs, however, some of these investigations suggest that exposure to airborne, volatile, non-persistent PCBs, may adversely affect several health outcomes, requiring further investigation.
Begum, Thoin F.; Carpenter, David O.; and (ATFE), Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment
"Review of Environmental Contamination at Akwesasne and Associated Health Outcomes,"
Journal of Indigenous Research: Vol. 10:
2022, Article 1.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/kicjir/vol10/iss2022/1