OHS Canada: Ontario apologizes for forcing miners to breathe in McIntyre Powder
by Todd Humber
About 25,000 miners were exposed to the powder from its introduction in 1943 until it was phased out in 1979.
Ontario has apologized to mine workers in the province who were exposed to McIntyre Powder.
The apology was delivered in the legislature at 3 p.m. today by Monte McNaughton, the Minister of Labour, Immigration and Skills Development.
“It has been more than 40 years since McInytre Powder has been used in Ontario mines, but for the thousands of miners who were exposed to the powder, it might as well have been yesterday,” he said. “They were told by their employers that this powder would help protect them from lung disease and that they had to inhale it to continue working in the mines.”
The substance, touted as a health and safety tool by the province to protect workers from silicosis, was a harmful aluminum dust. Workers were put into sealed rooms, where the toxic powder was dispersed into the air. It has since been linked to neurological health effects, including Parkinson’s disease, according to the Occupational Cancer Research Centre and Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).