A Bio Monitoring and Ethnobiology Approach to Fill Gaps in Indigenous Public Health and Environmental Health
Ethnobiology is well positioned to collaborate with bio monitoring research to gain a better knowledge of how people interact with contaminated surroundings and how they are affected. Indigenous populations living near unconventional natural gas ("fracking") facilities confront health concerns that are frequently under- or un-evaluated. This paper examines a bio monitoring pilot study project in British Columbia (Canada), which was motivated by Indigenous peoples' worries about pollutant exposure from traditional foods and the environment. According to preliminary bio monitoring findings, pregnant Indigenous women who live near fracking activities have higher levels of a benzene metabolite than non-Indigenous women. We look at how Indigenous Peoples' concerns about industrial poisons should inform bio monitoring and toxicological research, as well as how bio monitoring studies might provide quantitative data to ethnobiological research. By focusing on environmental knowledge and human health in the context of oil and gas development, we critically examine how action, environmental justice, and scientific research can and should contribute to better ethical and methodological frameworks and practices. When ethnobiology and bio monitoring are integrated, they can help fill critical knowledge gaps in environmental health and ethical research practices.