Lake not acutely toxic, just hung over

Burnaby – Dear Editor, I have a beef to share. Too many people are inaccurately using the term “acute toxicity” when talking about Polley Lake. Not only is their use of the term inaccurate, it’s also recklessly misleading.

Acute toxicity results from a single or short exposure to a poisonous substance which then causes severe biological harm or even death. An example of acute toxicity would be a lethal dose of common alcohol, aka “booze”. At Polley Lake there is an “elevated” level of substances, not “acute toxicity”. A suitable analogy would be a hangover from having consumed too much alcohol. As everyone knows, a hangover is painful but can be remedied, or remediated, if the source of the contaminant (alcohol) is removed or stopped, allowing the body to recover naturally.

So, Polley Lake is not dead, folks! It just has a hangover. Let’s stop saying it’s dead, let nature take its course, and let Polley Lake get over this hangover while we figure out how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Jessica Marte, Burnaby

Ed.: “Go home, Polley Lake, you’re drunk?” I don’t think a hangover quite describes it. Acute toxicity may technically be the wrong term, but it’s time to shop for another metaphor. Serious attention needs to be paid to the Mt. Polley debacle, and appearing to minimize it won’t help.

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