The Yellowknife Health Effects Monitoring Programme (YKHEMP) was established to examine the relationship of exposure to arsenic and other chemicals of potential concern such as antimony, cadmium, lead, manganese and vanadium and health outcomes.
A total of 2037 individuals were recruited, including children (age 3-19) and adults (age 20+), residing in Dettah, Ndilo and Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories, Canada, in two waves in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018. In Yellowknife, there were 891 (675 adults, 216 children), randomly selected participants with a participation rate of 64%. In addition, we also recruited a total of 875 (669 adults, 206 children) volunteer participants. A total of 225 (137 adults, 88 children) of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN), and 46 (33 adults, 13 children) of the North Slave Métis Alliance participated in the study. Each participant answered a lifestyle questionnaire as well as provided toenail clippings and urine for contaminant testing and saliva samples for testing of genetic polymorphisms associated with arsenic metabolism. Participants also provided consent to have their medical records reviewed by the research team for the past 5 years to allow for the investigation between exposure and health outcomes.
The adult YKHEMP participants had lower urinary total arsenic but the children had higher inorganic arsenic than the general Canadian population. There was no difference in urinary total arsenic concentrations between adults and children, however, urinary inorganic arsenic concentrations were generally higher in children than in adults in all four YKHEMP sampling groups. The adult YKDFN participants had lower urinary total arsenic and inorganic arsenic concentrations compared with the random selected and volunteer participants.
YKHEMP is designed as a prospective cohort study; the children participants will be re-examined in 2022 and both adult and children participants in 2027.