Steelworkers Invite Workers Exposed to McIntyre Powder and their Survivors to Intake Clinic

SUDBURY, ON, Sept. 29, 2016 /CNW/ - Nearly 40 years after companies ended the deliberate exposure of mine workers to aluminum powder, the United Steelworkers (USW) is holding an intake clinic for Ontario workers who were exposed, along with their survivors and caregivers.

The Oct. 3-4 clinic in Sudbury is aimed at studying health effects of exposure to aluminum powder and seeking justice for those affected by the deadly practice. The USW hosted a similar clinic in Timmins in May which drew 150 workers and survivors.

WHAT:

Intake clinic for Ontario workers exposed to aluminum powder, along with their survivors and caregivers.



WHEN:

October 3 and 4, 2016, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.



WHERE:

United Steelworkers Hall, 66 Brady Street, Sudbury



WHO:

Gold and uranium miners and mill workers who were exposed to McIntyre Powder aluminum dust, their survivors and/or their legal caregivers.



REGISTRATION: Contact Janice Martell, 1-800-461-7120, or jmartell@ohcow.on.ca. Walk-ins welcome, but pre-registration is encouraged.

 

Called McIntyre Powder, the powdered aluminum was used between 1943 and 1979 in mines and other industries where workers might be exposed to silica dust. The theory was that workers' lungs would be protected by inhaling the aluminum that was ground to a specific micron size. 

Many of those workers are dead or incapacitated with health problems. Their survivors and/or legal caregivers are eligible to participate in the intake clinic, where information will be gathered about workers' health, work history, workplace exposures and memories of their experiences with McIntyre Powder.  

The USW is collaborating with the Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), the Office of the Worker Adviser (OWA) and the McIntyre Powder Project and there is support from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).  

The clinic's objective is to better understand the types and incidence of health issues and to investigate whether there may be a link between health problems and occupational aluminum dust exposure.

"It remains a cruel legacy that people were deliberately exposed to a metal that causes breathing and neurological problems, yet they have never received justice through compensation," said USW Ontario/Atlantic Director Marty Warren. "I urge people who are able to participate in this clinic to do so.

"Our union has a reputation for fighting hard to make workplaces healthy and safe. This is a never-ending struggle for justice," he said.

The practice of using McIntyre Powder involved workers in closed rooms breathing in the dust as it was pumped through a pressurized pipe. 

Participation at the clinic is expected to take about three hours. An information table, hosted by the McIntyre Powder Project, will include a memorial album for families of deceased mine workers to contribute stories and photos of their loved ones.  

Visitors can also review some historical documents about the McIntyre Powder aluminum dust program.

At the clinic held in Timmins, in addition to retired workers still in the area, former miners and survivors flew in from as far away as the Yukon, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador. 

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Marty Warren, USW Ontario and Atlantic Director, 416-243-8792; Sylvia Boyce, USW Ontario and Atlantic Health, Safety and Environment Coordinator, ‪905-741-9830, sboyce@usw.ca; Janice Martell, McIntyre Powder Project, 1-800-461-7120, jmartell@ohcow.on.ca; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.usw.ca

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