A new report shows more supports are needed for Grassy Narrows members. The health assessment released yesterday says mercury exposure through the consumption of fish is associated with poor health and well-being.

The report calls for improvements to physical and mental health care, as well as programs to compensate for economic losses. The First Nation is calling for a treatment centre, in order to assist those impacted by contamination.

Excerpts from the report:

- physical and mental health of Grassy Narrows members is poorer than on other First Nations

- symptoms of mercury poisoning include:

  • peripheral neuropathy,
  • sensory and sensory-motor loss,
  • neuropsychological deficits,
  • motor loss and tingling around the mouth,
  • loss of hearing, vision and speech

- the contamination of fish has 'gravely affected' the social and economic wellbeing of members, depriving the community of a traditional source of highly-nutritious food

- current health and social services are inadequate for the health and wellbeing of the community members

- before 1970 there were no reports of suicides in Grassy Narrows, but in the report 91 band members reported having a family member or close friend commit suicide

- 80 per cent of band members participated in the survey

- 50 per cent reported incomes of less than $20,000 a year, 33 per cent reported incomes of under $10,000 a year

- 95 band members have made a claim to the Mercury Disability Board, 21 were accepted

- 33 per cent of band members reported eating walleye over the previous year

- 60 per cent are not working, two-thirds of those without work cite poor health

- 58 per cent say they're heavy drinkers, and 38 per cent report they've sought treatment for substance abuse

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