Eliminate Cancer-Causing Chemicals in “Cancer Alley”

an inland grain terminal in alberta

Target: Neil Shelly, Executive Director of Alberta Industrial Heartland Association

Goal: Reduce carcinogens being released into the air in the industrial heartland of Alberta.

Alberta’s industrial heartland has become known as “cancer alley,” due to the high levels of carcinogens causing rare forms of cancer in its inhabitants. The Alberta Industrial Heartland Association (AIHA), an association formed in 1998 to encourage industrial growth in the area, needs to enact a plan to reduce the harmful chemicals being released in order to protect citizens and the employees who are directly exposed to these carcinogens.

More than 40 companies have production plants in the area, including Dow Chemical and Shell Canada, producing many types of products, including plastics. Researchers at the University of California Irvine and the University of Michigan have studied the effects of such a dense industrial area, finding 77 volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the samples they took from land downwind from the heartland industrial district. VOC levels were so high that they rivaled those found in Mexico City during the 1990’s, when birds were said to drop dead mid-flight from harmful chemical exposure.

Though more research needs to be done to prove that the VOC found in the area is directly related to cancer incidences, researchers do see similarities between the VOC found here, and that found in other industrial areas where pollution has been connected to blood cancers such as leukemia. Mike Hudema, a Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, stated that industrial development should not come at the cost of the health and well-being of the citizens in the surrounding communities. He says, “The Alberta government needs to put the health of people first, and drastically reduce the cancer causing chemicals being produced by Alberta’s industrial heartland as recommended by these scientists. Alberta should not have to sacrifice communities, but these cancer clusters suggest that is exactly what the Alberta government is allowing to happen. We need to reduce the pollution now, before more people get sick.” Join this notable Greenpeace representative in demanding that the AIHA enact a plan immediately to reduce carcinogen emissions.


Dear Neil Shelly,

Recent studies performed by the University of Michigan and the University of California Irvine have revealed dangerous chemical emissions being produced in Alberta’s industrial heartland. This area has become widely known as “cancer alley,” for endangering surrounding communities with cancer-causing chemicals. The large amounts of chemical residue found in the area have been linked to blood cancers, like leukemia.

This issue is a serious concern, not only for the citizens who work and reside in the industrial heartland area, but also for the local and global environment. It is up to your organization to recognize this as a serious issue, and enact a plan immediately to reduce these chemical emissions to protect your citizens from life-threatening disease, and the environment from deterioration and ruin. Do something to address this problem today!


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Simon P. via Wikimedia

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One Comment

  1. Angela Bowery says:

    just where is the ‘industrial heartland’ of Alberta?

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