The Grassy Narrows & Islington Band Mercury Disability Board


Mercury Contamination Facts

Agreements and Legislation
Mercury Programs
Methylmercury - A Dangerous Chemical
Methylmercury Outbreaks
Treatment for Mercury Poisoning
Mercury Poisoning Worldwide
Diagnostic Criteria
Benefit Entitlement
Mercury Status in Fish
The Report - A Valuable Study Tool

Mercury Programs

The term, Mercury Program, is at times used incorrectly.

Some use it to describe the program run by the two First Nations through the Mercury Disability Board. In fact, the Mercury Program was set up in Ottawa in 1975 by the Medical Services Branch of Health Canada. It was designed to monitor levels of methylmercury exposure in targeted First Nations and Inuit communities. The process involves the collection of hair and blood samples from residents of these communities at regularly scheduled times. A person hired by this program coordinates the collection of samples.

The samples are analyzed and stored in Ottawa. It is to be noted that the results are not shared with the Mercury Disability Board. That is, hair and blood sample data, gathered in Wabeseemoong Independent Nations and Grassy Narrows First Nation by the Mercury Program, are not considered in Mercury Disability Board decisions regarding disability claims of residents of these two First Nations.

The Mercury Disability Board is specific only to the Grassy Narrows First Nation and Wabaseemoong Independent Nations.

At the date of publication of Ms Cosway’s report, this federal program has done 72,556 tests on 40,634 people in the 529 communities involved. The 1978 report shows that 2.54% of the population was at risk. The second group of results showed a large decrease to 0.4% at risk. The third report in 1999 shows a continuing decrease in contamination. It is not clear whether there are fewer contaminated fish, or whether people are eating fewer fish.

Eligibility to Apply for Benefits

For a person to be eligible to apply for benefits (per legislation), that person must be a current member of Grassy Narrows First Nation or Wabaseemoong Independent Nations; a past member of one of the two bands; or a registered Indian who was customarily resident on one the two first nation communities prior to the first day of October 1985

Download the Mercury Contamination Facts Booklet in PDF Format (680k)

Did you know...

that since inception to March 31, 2017 the Mercury Disability Board has processed 1093 initial applications for benefits.



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