Health Council Identifies
Environmental Health Concerns
l, the Provincial Health Council issued its report, Health for Nova Scotians.
The report, containing 12 broad recommendations, is the result of province
wide public consultations. The Council was mandated by Premier John Hamm
to hold public consultations to develop a list of core services to be provided
at the community, regional and provincial levels. From January to March
2000, the council distributed questionnaires, consulted community health
plans and held public meetings across the province to gather input from
Nova Scotians on health services.
Respondents expressed concern about the lack of government funding and facilities to treat people with environmental illness and multiple chemical sensitivities."We need people trained in environmental illness," stated a person who attended a public meeting in Glace Bay.
explained that "chemical illness develops into cancer. The health system
is failing people who suffer from environmental illness. The side effects
include depression and ... psychological damage. People think it is all
in your head, that there is no real physical illness. The reality [is it]
can lead to anaphylactic
People described problems receiving medical help for allergies to food
People across the province were concerned about having clean water to drink
and bathe in, clean soil and chemical-free food. Residents of Cape Breton
The issue of clean air was repeated in public meetings, questionnaires
The issue of clean water was also prevalent, as people related stories
of contaminated water supplies and their effects on health. Residents stated
that they would like to see Sydney Harbour and Halifax Harbour cleaned
up and not have untreated sewage flow into them. A community-based study
on the components of a
Nova Scotians throughout the province felt that the health of the population is aided by having clean air, water and soil, and serious health problems result when these elements are polluted.
The committee's recommendations are similar to those released more than
seven years ago by a previous health council. Chairperson Barbara
Hart noted "we found Nova Scotians were saying many of the same things
then that they told
Louanne Scallion Morine is a staff person at the N.S. Health Council. More information on the N.S. Provincial Health Council.