On 16 October 1996, a malfunction at the Swan Hills Special Waste Treatment Center (SHSWTC) in Alberta, Canada, released an undetermined quantity of persistent organic pollutants to the atmosphere, including PCBs, PCDDs and PCDFs. The circumstances of exposure are detailed in Part 1, Background and Policy Issues. An ecologically based, staged health risk assessment was conducted in two parts with two levels of government as sponsors. The first, called the Swan Hills Study, is described in this part, which was conducted by the Government of Alberta to evaluate the human health risks, primarily by determining contaminant levels in wild game and fish and in serum of residents of the area to reflect body burden. A diet and activity survey was conducted by telephone to determine and to inform an initial advisory on consumption of country foods. A subsequent evaluation, called the Lesser Slave Lake Study, focused exclusively on Aboriginal residents in the area and is presented in Part 3 of this case study. Because this is a case study and not a research report, the findings are presented as they became available at the time of the study.

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