- L. M. Bickley; D. Cowan; F.E. McNeill; D.R. Chettle – McMaster University
- J. Martell; D. Wilken; W. Yan; A. Zarnke; K. Hedges – Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)
Published: May 4, 2022
Discussions held between attendees from OHCOW including Janice Martell and Dave Wilken,with Professor Fiona McNeill from McMaster University, at an international “aluminum toxicity” meeting (2017)(1) following Prof. McNeill’s presentation: “In vivo measurement of aluminum in bone; recent experience and current capabilities”, served as a catalyst to initiate a study involving McIntyre Powder (exposed) former miners.
Further discussions with Professor David Chettle, a world expert on neutron activation analysis(NAA) to measure metal in bone, resulted in a plan in how to conduct a study for McIntyre powder exposed former miners.
Fifteen former miners (volunteers) who were forced to breathe in McIntyre Powder (during 1943 to 1979) were taken by OHCOW to the NAA facility at McMaster University. The aim was to see if, and how much, aluminum is present in bone some 40 years after being exposed.
We are now pleased to announce and convey our appreciation to Professor McNeill andProfessor Chettle, with a special thank you to Laura Bickley (McMaster University), who led the recent (open access) publication for this study, “Bone aluminum measured in miners exposed to McIntyre Powder” (2)
The findings from this study are compelling. Apart from the technique having potential application as a biomarker of exposure in cross-sectional studies of the health consequences of exposure to McIntyre Powder; the aluminum levels for these former miners (collectively), were significantly higher than a southern Ontario (control group) who were not exposed. Using a biological half-life of aluminum in bone of 10 to 20 years predicted levels of bone aluminum comparable to dialysis patients (exposed to aluminum), in the 1970s and 1980s where neurological degeneration was observed.
This aluminum in bone study, therefore, further opens the door providing more evidence for neurological adverse health effects for the McIntyre Powder exposed miners.
We would like to thank all those scientists from McMaster University for making the study happen.