August 19, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Horn Foundry: “Managing Arsenic Emissions Unacceptable”, Judges Dr. Boileau

Horn Foundry: "Managing Arsenic Emissions Unacceptable", Judges Dr. Boileau

National Director of Public Health Luc Boile estimated that the level of pollutant emissions in Rouin-Noranda, Abitibi-Temiscamingue, locating the horn foundry, is unacceptable for the health of the population. City dwellers have a higher risk of lung cancer there.

• Also Read: Arsenic in Rouen-Noranda: Prime Minister no longer ruling out closure option

• Also Read: So, do we close it or do we not close the Horn Foundry?

“To me, maintaining arsenic emissions at current levels is not tolerable, considering the known health effects. These emissions must be reduced to reach acceptable levels,” he argued, passing through Rouen-Noranda during a press briefing.

Last June, Radio-Canada revealed that DR Horacio Arruda, then National Director of Public Health, blocked the dissemination of data on lung cancer in Rouen-Noranda in 2019, which is high in the region. dR Arruda was then described as acting as a “deputy minister”.

According to many health experts, horn foundry can cause this condition. Its arsenic emissions into the air are currently capped at 100 nanograms per cubic metre, while the standard set by the environment ministry is three nanograms per cubic metre.

“I think there is a difference between an acceptable level and three nanograms. Three nanograms is the standard established by the Ministry, to which a certain risk is attached”, DR Boileau believed that a risk should be negotiated to be deemed acceptable.

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More cancers

On Wednesday morning, the National Institute of Public Health finally published its report on the situation in Rouyn-Noranda. If the status quo continues, there could be 13 to 554 additional lung cancer cases per million population. The figures would drop to 6.7 and 288 additional cases if the city’s emissions were reduced to Quebec standards.

The calculation by the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ) is based on an exposure scenario of 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 70 years.

“When we are exposed to such contaminants we exceed the generally acceptable risks we want to avoid. It is not because these figures represent small risks in terms of numbers, but because the stakes they represent are that we should avoid them,” explained D.R Boileau.

However, Public Health will conduct more studies in the coming weeks to understand “as soon as possible” the causes of the current situation and whether other factors contribute to this increased risk of breast cancer.

“Over the next few weeks and the next few months, we will move forward with transparency, rigor and speed on this file. “We don’t want to prolong the joy of studying for years to confirm things,” said Dr.R Boileau.

Possible closure

On Tuesday, in a scrum, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said he would not hesitate to close the Horne foundry if it could not reduce its emissions to levels deemed safe, and that talks with the company were underway.

“They either reduce emissions to a level that respects the health of citizens or, unfortunately, we have to close the company. It will be one of two. He clarified that there will be no compromise in the health of the citizens.

The Prime Minister suggested that the government could grant financial assistance so that the factory could scale up, but that too would require “significant amounts of investment”.

pressures

As the situation in Rouen-Noranda became public, many health experts are calling for the government to take action.

Last Sunday, nearly fifty doctors signed an open letter demanding government action. Both the College of Physicians and the Quebec Association of Physicians for the Environment lent their support.

On Tuesday, it was the Order of Chemists of Quebec’s turn to intervene in the debate, saying the government and Glencore have “accounts to render” to Rouen-Noranda residents.

Horn Foundry says it wants to improve on that

In a press release, Glencore’s Horn Foundry pledged to “further” reduce its climate emissions.

The company argued its position Wednesday afternoon after a public health press briefing.

“We haven’t communicated enough so far, but this is known: we have a concrete plan to further reduce our emissions and improve the situation,” said Claude Belanger, head of copper operations in North America for Glencore.

According to him, four specific actions are underway. Specifically, the company will develop a “transition zone” between the foundry and the Notre-Dame district to implement projects to reduce civilian exposure, improve and add dust collectors, allow for “optimal capture” of gas and dust, and work to capture emissions from some of the reactor’s roof vents. .