Citizens of Rouyn-Noranda have their house dust analyzed | Arsenic Rouyn-Noranda

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Citizens of Rouyn-Noranda have their house dust analyzed | Arsenic Rouyn-Noranda

Julie Fortier and Jean Garant live in Old Noranda.

Worried about the possible presence of contaminants, residents of Rouyn-Noranda are asking public health to conduct an in-depth study on dust in residences.

About twenty households, the majority of which live in the Notre-Dame district near the Horne Foundry, have paid out of pocket to have their house dust analyzed by an independent laboratory.

We talked to each other between neighbors and we said to ourselves that we should speed up the process of getting data ourselves, even to reassure ourselves or to tell ourselves that we have to ring the alarm bell more intensively, explains Julie Fortier, one of the participants in the study.

They received the results within the last few weeks. Cadmium, arsenic, lead, copper, chromium and zinc levels were measured. In some residences, the presence of these contaminants exceeds the thresholds deemed safe by Quebec for outdoor floors.

Beginning of the list Photo album of 6 elements. Skip the list?The results of analyzes on the concentration of lead in dust, according to the distance from the Horne Foundry.The results of the analyzes on the concentration of zinc in the dust, according to the distance from the Horne Foundry.The results of the analyzes on the concentration of chromium in the dust, according to the distance from the Horne Foundry.The results of the analyzes on the concentration of copper in the dust, according to the distance from the Horne Foundry.The results of the analyzes on the concentration of arsenic in the dust, according to the distance from the Horne Foundry.The results of the analyzes on the concentration of cadmium in the dust, according to the distance from the Horne Foundry.1/6The results of the analyzes on the concentration of lead in the dust, depending on the distance from the Horne Foundry.Photo : Courtesy: Jean GarantSee previous imageSee next imageEnd of list Photo album of 6 elements. Back to top of list?

One of the other participants, Jean Garant, who also holds a master's degree in industrial hygiene, is aware that this is not a scientific investigation, even if the participants followed a rigorous protocol

It's a primer, a spark plug. The rest of us want to say "look, we paid out of pocket", the state should have done it in the past, they didn't. In the results we have, there are things that we consider alarming, which will perhaps affect our children, the resale value of our homes, etc. We gave the whole file to public health and we ask: are we right to be worried?, he wonders.

By email, Sarah Charbonneau, communications manager at the CISSS de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue, confirms that the Public Health Department (DSPu) has received the data.

The DSPu is analyzing this information and will ensure that citizens' concerns are addressed as soon as possible. However, for the moment, it is not possible to grant an interview on this subject, she writes.

The citizens met are concerned about the presence of contaminants, some of which carcinogens, in their indoor environment.

“Now that we know that our interiors are contaminated, with thresholds that often exceed the authorized thresholds for exterior floors, it is still telling. What can we do ? Can public health help us defray some costs? Who's going to handle this? »

— Julie Fortier, resident of Old Noranda

Julie Fortier adds that temporary solutions could be put in place, pending a reduction in atmospheric emissions.

In homes that are heavily contaminated: can we offer regular cleaning, three or four times a year? Maybe pay for vacuum cleaners that pick up dust well, she gives as an example.

Jean Garant wonders about the metals that end up in the dust.

They are also eagerly awaiting the details of the ministerial authorization that will be issued to the company. According to our information, Quebec intends, among other things, to propose the establishment of a buffer zone.

A measure that does not reassure Jean Garant, since his residence and all those that have been tested in part of this citizens' initiative are not within the proposed buffer zone.

The houses are all south of Carter Avenue and there are disturbing results. Even if they expropriated north of Carter, that wouldn't solve the problem. In addition, it will kill the neighborhood, it will uproot people, it will harm businesses, argues Jean Garant.

The details of the ministerial authorization should be revealed by the end of February. Environment Minister Benoît Charrette has already indicated that he will be going to Rouyn-Noranda for the occasion.

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