In 1991 concerned community member in Northport, Washington conducted a health survey of the community, from which they created a list of residents with with similar health issues. The goal was to draw attention to the abnormal amount of similar, somewhat rare health issues their small community suffered from because of, in their opinions, chronic exposure to the heavy metal toxins released by Teck Cominco (now Teck Resources), a Canadian smelter located 3 miles up river from Northport.
At the time of the 1991 survey the population of Northport and the surrounding farms was approximately 375 people. The survey discovered the health issues diagnosed in residents, and approximation of those residents diagnosed. The list created from this information is listed below.
- Cancer (specifically bladder, prostate, stomach, kidney & colon): 55 residents
- Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn’s Disease: 19 residents
- Brain Tumors/Aneurisms: 12 residents
- Alzheimer’s: 14 residents
- Parkinson’s Disease: 2 residents
- Kidney issues: 11 residents
- Manganese Poisoning: 4 residents
The majority of the residents diagnosed with most of these health issues, specifically ulcerative colitis/Crohn’s and brain tumors/aneurisms, all lived within a 2 mile radius of each other, along the Columbia River in the Columbia River valley.
In 1991 the prevalence of people diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease was 14 people out of 100,000. Northport had 19 residents out of 375 diagnosed with this rare illness. The prevalence of people diagnosed with brain aneurisms was 1.5 to 7% of the entire U.S. population. Northport had 12 residents out of 375 residents suffer from an aneurism.