Questions remain about McIntyre Powder — and the long-term effects on exposed miners

The search for former mine workers who were exposed to McIntyre Powder continues, with a clinic planned for Sudbury next week.

Sudbury clinic organised by United Steelworkers encourages miners to come forward

Janice Martell has been encouraging former miners who may have been exposed to McIntyre Powder to step forward and attend information clinics. (Facebook/McIntyre Powder Project)

The search for former mine workers who were exposed to McIntyre Powder continues, with a clinic planned for Greater Sudbury next week.

According to, the powder is an aluminum dust that miners were told for decades to inhale in order to protect their lungs from an incurable disease known as silicosis.

The United Steelworkers in Sudbury are hosting the clinic, which Janice Martell —  the daughter of a miner who now suffers from Parkinson's disease — hopes will encourage more people to come forward.

"[For this clinic] I pre-registered 90 [people] already, so I'm expecting it will be a bit bigger ... like at least 150 here," Martell said.

Questions remain

There are still unanswered questions and concerns about whether the powder caused any long-term effects in miners, Martell said.

But, she hopes that more research will be done into whether it contributes to neuro-degenerative diseases —  and possibly help to make the case for compensation if workers were adversely affected. 

Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board says there is inadequate scientific evidence to link exposure to aluminum to diseases such as Parkinson's.

But, the numbers of attendees at the clinic would suggest there's at least some concern from former miners.

"It's weird because [McIntyre Powder] wasn't used in the Sudbury area, but yet there's a lot of miners and mine workers in Sudbury now who used to work in either Timmins or Elliot Lake, and they were exposed there," Martell said.

The clinic will be held Oct. 3 - 4 at the Steelworkers Hall on Brady St. in Sudbury.

With files from Wendy Bird. Edited/packaged by Casey Stranges


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