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Doctor confirms high rate of colitis south of Teck smelter

teck smelter.jpg
Teck's lead and zinc smelter in Trail, B.C., upstream from Northport, Washington. (Contributed by: Teck Resources)
To residents of Northport Washington, the news might not be a surprise -- but for many, it might be validation.

Northport is a community of about 300 people located on the Columbia River.

For years, residents have claimed that something is making them sick, and they point north to the Teck smelter, just 35 kilometres upstream, in Trail.

We still don't know exactly what's behind the illnesses.

But now we do know for sure that something strange is going on in Northport.

A new survey by researchers at Harvard Medical School shows rates of colitis and Crohn's disease are 10 to 15 times higher than normal in Northport, and those researchers have ruled out genetics as a possible cause.

Jamie Papparich is a community activist from Northport who's been raising the alarm for years. In fact, she lobbied the medical community to get involved and to undertake this very survey.

She spoke with Daybreak host, Chris Walker.

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