Fort Chip doctor rails against government inaction

Fort Chipewyan's outspoken doctor and medical examiner says he is disgusted the community was never notified about results from a recent study predicting high arsenic levels in local moose meat.

Fort Chipewyan's outspoken doctor says he is disgusted the community was never notified about results from a recent study prediciting high levels of arsenic in local moose meat.

The study by oilsands player Suncor Energy estimates arsenic levels 453 times higher than the acceptable levels with more development.

It released the numbers at a hearing this past summer, butthe northern Alberta community, 300 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, only learned about the studythrough a newspaper story Friday.

Dr. John O'Connor says the results should have been presented to the community of 1,200 long before now.

"Nobody has answered any of the questions we've asked," O'Connor told CBC News Wednesday. "When they came up with this preliminary high levels of arsenic, they don't even have the courtesy to inform anyone in the community."

The results only add to concerns he raised earlier this year about thehigh number of rare cancers and other health problems among residents.

He believes theproblems arelinked to themassive oil sands development in the region.

Alberta Health says the Suncorresults have not been confirmed and it is now working on its own study.

Doctor considers leavingFort Chip

Meanwhile O'Connor says fighting the government has taken a personal tolland he is considering leaving the community.

"It's been so consuming and so frustrating that my blood pressure hasgone up and I have difficulty sleeping," he said. "It's just I'm worn out by this."

O'Connor said if he does decide to leave, he has no plans to give up the fight over health concerns in the community.