Former mine workers who were made ill from their exposure to McIntyre Powder have received an apology from Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton. Thanks in large part to the spearheading of the McIntyre Powder Project by activist Janice Martell and her partnerships with OHCOW and others, the substance has been identified as having caused respiratory illness, lung disease and neurological conditions in workers. Martell was interviewed on CBC about the campaign and what the long-awaited apology means to her and injured miners.
From 1943 to 1979, miners in northern Ontario were forced to breathe in the black ground aluminum dust before they started their shifts.
McIntyre Powder is essentially ground aluminum dust, and it was administered to miners for over thirty years until 1979. The miners were told they had to take it or be fired. It was supposed to prevent lung disease, but in some cases actually ended up causing it, as well as other illnesses and irreversible neurological damage.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario (WSIB) has recognized that miners forced to inhale McIntyre Powder were at a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Early in 2022, the province made the changes to allow families and miners who developed Parkinson’s tied to McIntyre Powder inhalation to file claims and be compensated for occupational disease.
As a long time supporter of Martell, the OHCOW web site has been reporting on the McIntyre Powder Project for a while… get more information.
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