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Dust containing dangerous levels of cancer causing chemicals found in B.C and Alberta.

A recent study has identified concerning levels of cancer-causing chemicals originating from open-pit coal mines in British Columbia, which are spreading to various regions of both B.C. and Alberta due to wind patterns. Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds (PACs) have been detected in snowfall at concentrations exceeding Alberta's environmental guidelines.

According to the paper, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. ““Our results reveal, for the first time, clear evidence that coal mining contaminants are spread far downwind from their sources,”

This discovery has prompted significant apprehension among critics who oppose Alberta's plans for open-pit coal mining. Despite these concerns, energy regulators are proceeding with hearings on coal exploration projects in the Southern Rocky Mountains, potentially paving the way for future developments.

Open-pit coal mine. Courtesy of TreeHugger

23 sites were sampled from mines in 2022 and 2023.

The environmental guidelines in Alberta for PACs in rivers and lakes range between .015 and 5.8 micrograms per litre of water, depending on the chemical. One site was recorded to have 100 micrograms per litre. Other six sites showed at least 10 and 7 showed at least one.

Snowy Landscape.