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One-of-a-kind nanomaterials study at Experimental Lakes Area in jeopardy
June 18, 2012 (OTTAWA) — The recent decision by the Government of Canada to terminate the famed Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) research facility jeopardizes the only major study in the world on nanosilver and its potential to alter the ecological balance of lakes.
The abrupt closure means invaluable water research projects—not being done anywhere else in the world—will be lost, and their future findings lost with them. This includes a one-of-a-kind investigation looking at what happens in a lake polluted by nanosilver, the increasingly popular antimicrobial agent found in everything from household cleaning sponges to socks and even children’s teddy bears. Nanosilver is currently added to over 300 commercial products, and is released into our rivers and lakes through the discharge of municipal and industrial wastewaters.
A team of researchers from Trent University in Peterborough, ON, headed by Prof. Chris Metcalfe, believe this study is of critical importance to all Canadians, and that the Government should continue to support the ELA.
One of the Trent University researchers, Dr. Marguerite Xenopoulos, explains that “we have seen an exponential growth in the use of nanomaterials; however, questions of their safety in lakes are not being asked. The Experimental Lakes Area is one of the few places in the world where we can study the effects of nanosilver at the whole ecosystem level. This research is extremely important to help guide future policy.”
The Federal Government plans to terminate its support of the ELA in March 2013. Manitoba Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship Gord Mackintosh and Ontario Minister of the Environment Jim Bradley have jointly sent a letter to Ministers Keith Ashfield and Peter Kent to defer the Government of Canada’s decision to close the ELA.
This recommendation is echoed by Diane Orihel, a Leader of the Coalition to Save ELA. “The March 2013 deadline is completely unrealistic”, says Orihel, “more time is needed to ensure current studies are not compromised, and to properly explore a new operating regime for this critical Canadian research facility”.
Professor Vance Trudeau of the University of Ottawa, and President of the North American Society for Comparative Endocrinology, stated emphatically that “Canada has attracted worldwide recognition for decades because of the excellence of ELA research, but now Canada is attracting worldwide attention for terminating this outstanding research program."
The Coalition to Save ELA is a non-partisan group of scientists and citizens concerned about the future of Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area.
Coalition to Save ELA
Diane Orihel (Central Canada), Tel: 204-979-2395
Jason Venkiteswaran (Eastern Canada), Tel: 519-897-3527
Heidi Swanson (Western Canada), Tel: 587-708-1322
General Media Enquiries: media (at) saveela.org