Home LATEST NEWS HEALTH A significant risk of lung cancer in Rouyn-Noranda, according to the INSPQ

A significant risk of lung cancer in Rouyn-Noranda, according to the INSPQ

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This is what she concludes by noting the results of the study conducted by the National Institute of Public Health (INSPQ).

Dr. Luc Boileau affirms that, for him, it is not tolerable that the arsenic emissions from the Horne Foundry continue at the same level.

Let’s be very clear right now. For me, maintaining arsenic emissions at the current level is not acceptable considering the known health impacts. These emissions must be revised downwardshe said.

If the status quo persists, there could be 13 to 550 more cases of lung cancer per million inhabitants, whereas the risk considered negligible in Quebec is 1 case per million inhabitants.

Lung cancer risk estimates from arsenic

Status quo

13 to 554 more cases of lung cancer per million population

Exposure at 50 ng/m3

36% reduction in risk

Exposure to 20 ng/m3

44% reduction in risk

Exposure to 3 ng/m3 (Quebec standard)

48% reduction in risk

When asked why this information was not presented to the public sooner, the President and CEO of the Integrated Health and Social Services Center of Abitibi-Témiscamingue (CISSS-AT), Caroline Roy , replied that it’s really just recently that we’ve noticed that there are inequalities in health.

According to Dr. Boileau, the data we have today does not justify demanding that the Horne Foundry be closed.

Dr. Boileau expects the Horne Foundry to implement measures to reduce its heavy metal emissions. I think they take notice and I think they will walkhe said.

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Public Health will not recommend a specific arsenic concentration figure to the Foundry.

The objective is to avoid these emissions as much as possible, without necessarily closing the company, that may be an option, depending on the levels they will be able to reach, but that is a provision that will be taken by the community and the governmentmentions Dr. Boileau.

Public health will await the emission reductions that the Foundry will propose in the coming weeks and will then assess the health risks.

The study assesses the risks of having cancer over a period of 70 years, from 1990 to 2060, by considering arsenic emissions of an average of 87 nanograms per cubic meter, the concentration observed in recent years.

Calculations show that, in such a scenario, we would see, in the urban perimeter of Rouyn-Noranda, from 1 to 14 more cases of lung cancer.

Although these figures may seem small, Dr. Boileau points out that the data are concerning.

If we reduce this to rates of 1 per million, we greatly exceed the normally acceptable risks and which we wish to avoid when we are exposed to such contaminants.he says.

In Quebec, public health considers that we do not want more than one cancer per million inhabitants per 70 years of exposure.

More detailed data to come

Dr. Boileau assures that public health will provide more information to the population in the coming weeks regarding other possible health impacts, not only from arsenic, but also from other heavy metals.

The Notre-Dame district of Rouyn-Noranda and one of the chimneys of the Horne Foundry letting out smoke.

The Notre-Dame district of Rouyn-Noranda and the Horne Foundry

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Jean-Michel Cotnoir

Public health believes that these steps should take place more quickly since previous studies have made it possible to collect the necessary data.

This is why we can allow ourselves at this time, since we have looked at the literature in detail, to go and dig into very specific questionssays Stéphane Trépanier, director of regional public health.

Dr. Boileau points out that other health concerns in Rouyn-Noranda, such as life expectancy, low birth weight babies and lung disease, cannot be entirely attributed to emissions from the Horne Smelter.

To assume today that these differences are due to emissions would be a serious error and would be implausible. There is a portion that can perhaps be explained by this. We have just characterized it for cancer, but for the other dimensions, it would be, I think, extremely surprising.he said.

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