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Workers exposed to McIntyre Powder invited to intake clinic

USW is holding two-day intake clinic for anyone who was exposed to aluminum powder, along with their survivors and caregivers
dust mask



Nearly 40 years after companies ended the deliberate exposure of workers to aluminum powder in Ontario mines, the United Steelworkers (USW) is holding a two-day intake clinic for anyone who was exposed, along with their survivors and caregivers.

The clinic, happening May 11 and 12 from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., is aimed at studying health effects and seeking justice for those affected by the deadly practice.

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 by inhaling the metal, ground to a specific micron size, workers' lungs would be protected. 

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 also 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 is unbelievable 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.

In addition to retired workers still in the area, former miners and survivors are flying in from as far away as British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Yukon. 



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