Photo: You're helping people wake up to Canada's toxic shame

Grassy Narrows residents still suffer from mercury poisoning, decades after a chemical dump. (Credit: Leadnow/Flickr)

Where were you in '62?

In 1962, biologist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring. It explained how toxic chemicals like DDT concentrate up the food chain. (Some say Carson's book launched the environmental movement. David Suzuki says it changed his life.)

That same year, a pulp and paper mill began dumping untreated waste into the Wabigoon River system, upstream from First Nations communities, including Grassy Narrows. Until 1970, more than 9,000 kilograms of mercury poured into the watershed.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin. Many people in Grassy Narrows suffer from numbness, loss of co-ordination, trembling and other problems. Some can't walk. Many are in wheelchairs. Mercury poisoning is also linked to developmental problems in children, which persist into adulthood.

Japanese scientists have studied Grassy Narrows residents for decades. They say the people are suffering from Minamata disease, caused by mercury poisoning. Yet the Ontario government refuses to clean up the watershed.

The Ontario government has long known that cleaning up Grassy Narrows is possible but has chosen not to act. More than 50 years later, scientists still find dangerous mercury concentrations in area lakes.

Thanks to you, people know that the water and fish Grassy Narrows residents depend on can become safe to drink and eat again. More than 10,000 have written to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne urging her act.

If you haven't already, please stand with Grassy Narrows by signing the letter here: action2.davidsuzuki.org/grassynarrows.