The Rubber Worker Project seeks to:
- Investigate potential connections between hazards in the rubber industry and specific illnesses/injuries that Ontario rubber workers have reported to OHCOW.
- Support workers and their families who are filing WSIB claims by providing independent, objective medical and scientific assessments.
- Build on the knowledge gathered to create resources for rubber workers to prevent exposure to workplace hazards.
Don't forget to bookmark this page! Check back later as we will be adding more information and resources.
We want to hear from you!
Have you and/or your family members worked in the rubber industry?
Do you have concerns about the impact of your work on your health?
Do you have anything you’d like to share with us (work stories, photos, information about potential hazards, etc.)
Who is involved, and who can best support you?
What have we done so far?
The Rubber Worker Project was created in 2002 to investigate the cause of cancer clusters occurring in workers employed in the rubber industry in Kitchener, Waterloo, and the surrounding area. More than 6,000 workers were employed in tire fabrication plants owned by BF Goodrich, Epton Industries, Uniroyal, Michelin before the last plant closed in 2010.
OHCOW Hamilton, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 677, the Office of the Worker Adviser (OWA) and the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) have worked together providing information, objective hygiene and medical assessments to affected workers.
In 2018, WSIB committed to review approximately 300 previously denied occupational disease claims using updated scientific information, including 2012 industry findings by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). This was a direct result of renewed activism by members of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) Chapter 80.
OHCOW Involvement To-Date
In partnership with USW and the OWA, OHCOW then organized a two-day information session in Kitchener in the spring of 2019, with the WSIB in attendance, to allow workers and families to file claims or obtain updates on established claims. This event and subsequent communication generated 185 files, including more than 120 cancer cases.
What have we learned?
Workers in the rubber-manufacturing industry are exposed to dusts and fumes from the rubber-making and vulcanization processes. Potential exposures include: N-nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, solvents, phthalates.
The work continues, with areas of focus including investigations into Prostate and Bladder Cancer, Leukemia, Malignant Lymphoma (including multiple myeloma and other lymphopoietic cancers), Stomach and Oesophagus Cancers, Larynx and Lung Cancers.
Check back later for more information.
- WSIB claim number
- Name of the person the WSIB claim is about
- Have you been contacted by the WSIB?
- Have you received a decision letter? (please provide us a copy if possible)
- Was your claim accepted or denied?
- Did the WSIB say they will review your claim again in the future?
- Do you have a legal representative and, if so, their name, organization and phone number
Occupational exposures in the rubber-manufacturing industry were considered from 1981 to 2018. An international report of key hazards prepared by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
January 11, 2019
An article from The Record by Greg Mercer describing OHCOW's collaborative efforts to support Ontario rubber workers.