Arsenic Radio Series

Radio Ad #1

Arsenic is natural and common in the environment. However, through decades of gold mining operations at Giant, Con and Negus mines, a toxic form of arsenic called arsenic trioxide was released in the Yellowknife area.

Local people wanted to know if they are exposed to higher levels of arsenic than other Canadians. To answer that question, the health effects monitoring program was created with current urine and toenail sample results, showing arsenic levels comparable to the average Canadian. To find out more, visit

Radio Ad #2

People are routinely exposed to arsenic in food, water, air, and soil because it is found naturally in the environment. Some foods are known to be higher in arsenic like seaweed, rice, shellfish, and fish.

The health effects monitoring program found that local adults and children with higher levels of arsenic in their urine ate store-bought seafood and rice more often, the study also found that local fish are safe to eat for more arsenic results.

Visit and the health and social services website for guidelines on safe fishing locations.

Radio Ad #3

Arsenic trioxide is a very toxic mineral form of arsenic, in the past local bedrock was crushed in smelters during the extraction of gold at Giant Mine creating and releasing arsenic trioxide in the form of dust. 

Over 237,000 tons of arsenic trioxide dust is currently contained in chambers and stopes underground at Giant Mine. The Health Effects Monitoring Program will continue to monitor local populations for arsenic and other metals during remediation activities at the mine. To find out more visit

Radio Ad #4

The Health Effects Monitoring Program, compared levels of arsenic in participants’ urine and toenails to a set of reference levels. The reference levels are used to compare populations and are not based on toxic effects.

If your levels are above the reference level, it only means your concentration was higher than 95% of other Canadians.

Current study results show that Yellowknife area residents are not at risk of health effects at the arsenic levels measured in their urine and toenails. To find out more visit

Radio Ad #5

The Health Effects Monitoring Program collected toenail clippings from participants because they can show arsenic exposure from up to the past 12 months.

Presently the technology doesn’t exist to show past arsenic levels beyond 12 months. YKHEMP’s 2017, 2018 baseline study results showed that arsenic levels in toenails are similar to what is observed in other populations across Canada. To find out more visit

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