This Friday’s episode of the CBC’s Fifth Estate will re-visit an issue once faced by miners, especially those in Northern Ontario. Years ago, between 1944 and 1979, before heading underground, miners had to breathe in aluminum dust to protect them against things like silicosis. The assumption was wrong and the dust resulted in other sicknesses so the practice was stopped.
A woman whose father once worked at the Elliot Lake uranium mines used to inhale aluminum dust before every shift. Janice Martell’s father now has Parkinson’s. Martell is trying to find former miners who inhaled the dust and so far has a list of 131 former workers.
This May in Timmins, Martel and the Steelworkers union are holding a clinic that examines the health of former miners in detail.
(Written by: Rocco Frangione)