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Learn about McIntyre Powder at 80th anniversary event

Informational session on miner aluminum powder will take place in Sudbury on Nov. 30
Photos of miners impacted by McIntyre Powder are compiled into a collage that will be included on a memorial banner to be released on Nov. 30.

Members of the public interested in learning more about McIntyre Powder and its impact on Northern Ontario miners are invited to attend an informational session scheduled for the day that marks the 80th anniversary of its first use.

Hosted by worker advocate Janice Martell, the event will take place Thursday, Nov. 30 between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at the United Steelworkers Hall in Sudbury.

Free to attend, the event will serve as both a memorial to those miners whose health was negatively affected by McIntyre Powder and an educational session on mining exposures and the resources available to those who need them.

Developed in the 1940s by mining executives, McIntyre Powder was a finely ground aluminum dust that miners were required to inhale before every shift. It was first administered on Nov. 30, 1943 at the McIntyre Mine in Timmins.

Executives claimed it would prevent miners from developing the lung disease silicosis, but the practice was discontinued in the late 1970s after its benefits were debunked.

In the ensuing years, many miners have developed serious respiratory and neurological illnesses and are now eligible for workers’ compensation.

During the first part of the two-part event next week, Martell will commemorate the 80th anniversary of McIntyre Powder's first use, including the unveiling of a new banner featuring photos of miners who have been impacted.

The second part of the morning will focus on McIntyre Powder and other mining exposures — diesel exhaust, silica dust, radiation, arsenic, nickel compounds, and more — and the health issues that can result from exposure.

Martell will also share information on how to make compensation claims, barriers and strategies to overcome them, and the resources available to miners and their families.

The session is open to the general public, although Martell said it will be of particular interest to mine workers and their families, worker advocates, and health service providers.

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