McIntyre Powder Project

  • Parkinson's related to McIntyre Powder exposure officially recognized as an Occupational Disease

    Parkinson's is now officially recognized by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) as an OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE for workers who were previously required to inhale McIntyre Powder (finely ground aluminum dust) on the job. 

    On June 23, 2020, the WSIB (the workers' compensation authority in Ontario, Canada) published an "Adjudicative approach document" on its website under "McIntyre Powder Update", to explain "how we make decisions about Parkinson's disease claims related to McIntyre Powder".  The initial paragraphs of this document are reproduced below, but the full document is available on the WSIB website.  

    WHAT THIS MEANS FOR WORKERS OR THEIR ESTATES (Next-of Kin) in Ontario, Canada:

    If you were a mine or factory worker in Ontario, Canada with a diagnosis of Parkinson's, and you were exposed to McIntyre Powder during the course of your employment, you should file a workers' compensation claim with the Ontario WSIB.  If the worker is deceased, the worker's next-of-kin should file a WSIB claim on behalf of the Estate.  

    In cases where the worker or Estate is unsure about McIntyre Powder exposure, you are welcome to contact Janice Martell of the McIntyre Powder Project for assistance at 1-800-461-7120. 

    WHAT THIS MEANS FOR WORKERS OR THEIR ESTATES (Next-of Kin) anywhere else in the WORLD:

    McIntyre Powder was historically used (between 1943-1979) as a compulsory preventative medical treatment (prophylaxis) for workers in multiple workplaces in Canada, the United States, Western Australia, Belgian Congo, Mexico and Chile, plus an extended trial at Geevor Tin Mine in England. [Refer to list of known industrial licensees under our "RESOURCES" tab on this website].  McIntyre Powder was primarily used in industries (mines and factories) where workers were exposed to silica dust, on the unproven (since disproven) theory that inhaling finely ground aluminum dust would prevent the lung disease silicosis.  

    In March, 2020 an epidemiological data linkage study conducted by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC) in Ontario, Canada, found an increased risk of Parkinson's and parkinsonism in Ontario miners related to McIntyre Powder exposure. A copy of this study can be found on the Occupational Cancer Research Centre website (https://www.occupationalcancer.ca/2020/mcintyre-powder-study/).

    If you were a mine or factory worker anywhere else in the WORLD with a diagnosis of Parkinson's, and you were exposed to McIntyre Powder during the course of your employment, you should contact your local workers' compensation authority to file a claim.  If the worker is deceased, the worker's next-of-kin should contact your local workers' compensation authority to file a claim on behalf of the Estate. 

    In cases where the worker or Estate is unsure about McIntyre Powder exposure, you are welcome to contact Janice Martell of the McIntyre Powder Project for assistance at 1-800-461-7120. 

     

    WSIB Adjudicative Approach Document highlights:

    "Initial entitlement

    The WSIB recognizes Parkinson’s disease resulting from occupational exposure to McIntyre Powder as an occupational disease.

    Initial entitlement is allowed for Parkinson’s disease that occurs due to the nature of one or more employments in which the worker was exposed to McIntyre Powder.

    Claims for initial entitlement for Parkinson’s disease will be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, entitlement decisions for Parkinson’s disease must be based on the merits and justice of the case, taking into account all of the facts and circumstances.

    Purpose

    The purpose of this adjudicative approach document is to provide entitlement guidelines for claims of Parkinson’s disease in Ontario miners with McIntyre Powder exposure.

    Guidelines

    Determining initial entitlement In determining the work-relatedness of Parkinson’s disease claims, the decision-maker will consider whether:

    1. the nature of the worker’s employment resulted in exposure to McIntyre Powder;

    2. the worker has an established diagnosis for Parkinson’s disease; and

    3. the exposure to McIntyre Powder preceded the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

    If established, the above will generally be considered persuasive evidence that the worker’s employment made a significant contribution to the worker’s Parkinson’s disease."

    (Source: WSIB website, McIntyre Powder Update, accessed July 2, 2020: https://www.wsib.ca/en/mcintyre-powder-update)


  • Risk of Parkinson's Linked with McIntyre Powder Exposure

    On May 7, 2020, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) released the results of a March 12, 2020 study conducted by Paul Demers and colleagues of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC).  

    The study found an increased risk of Parkinson's and parkinsonism among McIntyre Powder-exposed miners in Ontario, Canada. 

    The study also found an increased risk of Alzheimer's and motor neuron disease associated with miners overall in Ontario, Canada.  This would be of particular interest to anyone diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), since the researchers noted that 70% of all motor neuron disease cases are ALS. 

    The study concluded: "This study found an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease associated with exposure to McIntyre Powder among Ontario miners, in comparison to both unexposed miners and the general population of Ontario. The risk appeared to increase with duration of exposure and was stronger for people exposed after 1956, when the formulation was changed to decrease the particle sizes. The association was also stronger for gold miners than uranium miners. No association was found between McIntyre Powder exposure and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or motor neuron disease, although miners overall had an increased risk compared to the general population. These other associations deserve further research to identify whether they may be related to other suspected neurological hazards in mining." (INVESTIGATION OF MCINTYRE POWDER EXPOSURE AND NEUROLOGICAL OUTCOMES IN THE MINING MASTER FILE COHORT: FINAL REPORT - Occupational Cancer Research Centre, March 12, 2020). 

    Between 1943 and 1979-80, employees at many mines, factories, and industries were required by their employers to inhale McIntyre Powder (finely ground aluminum dust) each work shift, on the unproven theory (since disproven) that it would prevent the lung disease silicosis.  McIntyre Powder was used in mines and factories in Canada, United States, Western Australia, Mexico, Chile, and the Belgian Congo, plus Geevor Tin Mine in England.  For a list of known industries that were licensed to use McIntyre Powder, see our "Resources" tab. 

    If you (or your deceased loved one) worked in mining, factories, or industries where McIntyre Powder may have been used and you have Parkinson's or parkinsonism, you may be eligible for workers' compensation, or your Estate may be eligible for survivor benefits. Contact the local workers' compensation authority in the province/state/country where you (or your loved one) worked. In Ontario, Canada, you can make a claim by contacting the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) at: 1-800-387-0750.  

    If you (or your deceased loved one) worked in mining in Ontario and you are/were diagnosed with Alzheimer's or motor neuron disease (particularly ALS), you may also wish to contact the Ontario WSIB to make a claim. 

    For further information, you are welcome to contact the McIntyre Powder Project founder, Janice Martell, at 1-800-461-7120. 


  • McIntyre Powder analysis published in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene

    Andrew Zarnke and colleagues have analyzed the physical and chemical characteristics of canisters of McIntyre Powder. Their results are now published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (see "JOEH McIntyre Powder analysis" under "Links"). 

    One of the critically important findings from this research is that the size of McIntyre Powder particles is extremely small.  McIntyre Powder was found to be comprised of particles that are in the fine particulate and ultrafine particulate (nanoparticle) size range. 

    Inhaled nanoparticles have the potential to enter the bloodstream from the lung and travel to other areas of the body.  Future research on the potential health consequences of McIntyre Powder inhalation will continue, now that we have a solid understanding of its physical and chemical properties. 

     


  • 500 Mine workers on MPP Voluntary Registry

    In April 2015, the McIntyre Powder Project began compiling a voluntary registry, documenting health issues experienced by mine workers (and in one case, a factory worker) who had been exposed to McIntyre Powder aluminum dust.  To date, 500 workers have registered with the McIntyre Powder Project or were registered by their surviving next of kin.  Nearly 200 are deceased - 38 of whom died since the MPP voluntary registry was established. 

    Most of the workers have multiple diagnosed health conditions and/or symptoms, with respiratory problems affecting 317 (172 with diagnosed conditions, 145 with symptoms but no diagnosis, 12 have sarcoidosis).  Neurological conditions were reported for 153 workers, including 99 with diagnosed conditions and 58 with symptoms but no diagnosis (55 of which involved memory issues).  Of the diagnosed neurological conditions, there are 44 with Parkinson's, 31 with Alzheimer's, 17 with dementia, and 7 with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease).  121 workers report cardiovascular conditions.  Cancers were reported for 110 workers, 51 of which were lung cancer, and 4 with multiple myeloma. 

    The McIntyre Powder aluminum prophylaxis program was a human experiment.  Documenting the health issues experienced by the affected workers and seeking answers for those workers and their surviving families remains the life work of the McIntyre Powder Project.  Many thanks to those who have contributed their stories. Your courage is making history and changing the future for those at risk for occupational disease.


  • McIntyre Powder researchers and JFIW bike riders coming to Elliot Lake May 25 & 26, 2018!

    The McIntyre Powder Project is thrilled to host expert researchers and Justice for Injured Workers cyclists for FREE public information and reception events in Elliot Lake and Massey, Ontario on May 25 & 26, 2018.

    Details below! This will be of special interest to mine worker and their families, health care providers, and researchers, along with community members in general.   Opportunity for learning, questions, discussion, and participation in displays highlighting occupational disease and McIntyre Powder miners' memorial.

    Friday, May 25th - Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre (Theatre), 255 Hwy 108, Elliot Lake, Ontario 

    1-4 p.m. FREE public Seminar: "Occupational Disease in Mining and McIntyre Powder Research"

    Presentation Schedule: 

    1 to 2 p.m.  McIntyre Powder Project & Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)

    Janice Martell, Dave Wilken

    o   History of the McIntyre Powder aluminum prophylaxis program

    o   Updates on McIntyre Powder-exposed worker group at OHCOW 

     2 to 3 p.m.  Occupational Cancer Research Centre – Cancer Care Ontario

    Dr. Paul Demers, Dr. Victoria Arrandale

    o   Occupational disease in mining

    o   Study of McIntyre Powder-exposed mine workers and neurological disorders

     3 to 3:30 p.m. Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Laurentian University

    Dr. Douglas Boreham, Andrew Zarnke, PhD candidate, Dr. Christopher Thome

    o   Radon and McIntyre Powder 

    3:30 to 4 p.m.  Wrap-Up, Justice for Injured Workers Bike Ride, Announcements

    o  Opportunity for further questions from audience        

    o   Announcements for evening events and 2018 Justice for Injured Workers bike ride

    Friday, May 25th - Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre (Theatre), 255 Hwy 108, Elliot Lake, Ontario 

    7-9 p.m.  RECEPTION EVENT for the 2018 JFIW Bike Ride -  FREE, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! All are welcome.

    • Welcome to the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG)'s cyclists for the 2018 Justice for Injured Workers Bike Ride 
    • Workers Comp Is a Right campaign
    • McIntyre Powder Project - Overview and In Memoriam

    Friday, May 25th - Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre (LOBBY outside Theatre), Elliot Lake, Ontario 

    MEMORIAL DISPLAY & INFORMATION TABLES: The lobby outside the Civic Centre theatre will host information tables and memorial displays dedicated to mining, occupational disease awareness, and the Workers Comp Is A Right campaign. FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

    SIGN THE MINERS' COVERALLS: A set of miners' coveralls will become a memorial display bearing the names of mine workers who are living with or have died with an occupational disease.  Travelling to Timmins, Elliot Lake, Massey, and Sudbury in May 2018 - and to Queen's Park in Toronto for Injured Workers Day on June 1, 2018 - these coveralls will bring awareness to occupational diseases in the mining industry. Any mine worker living with an occupational disease can sign their name on the coveralls OR their names can be signed by family members of mine workers who died with an occupational disease.

    VIEW & CONTRIBUTE TO MEMORIAL ALBUM: The McIntyre Powder Project's MEMORIAL ALBUM will be at all events in May. Family members of deceased McIntyre Powder-exposed mine workers can contribute photos or stories to the memorial album, which is open to the public and media.

    Saturday, May 26th - 7 a.m. Miners' Memorial Park, Elliot Lake 

     7 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Jim Hobbs Memorial Ride - 2018 JFIW bike ride from Elliot Lake to Massey

    Starts: 7 a.m. - Elliot Lake Miners' Memorial Park- Hwy 108 North (600 metres north of Hampton Inn) 

    Ends: 1 p.m. - Massey Arena, 455 Government Road, Massey, Ontario 

    Reception event and public presentation follows at Massey Arena from 1-3 p.m.

    The McIntyre Powder Project and members of the Jim Hobbs family and Massey community will welcome the 2018 JFIW cyclists as they arrive from Elliot Lake. Information, memorial display, and FREE public presentation on McIntyre Powder Project and Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups.


  • McIntyre Powder Project presents to international scientific researchers at Keele 12 Meeting on Aluminum March 7, 2017

    On March 7, 2017, the McIntyre Powder Project and the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, Inc. (OHCOW) will be presenting information about mine workers who were exposed to aluminum dust, to an international conference of scientific researchers of aluminum.  It is hoped that this meeting will result in research partnerships between OHCOW and scientists, to help determine if there are any associations between occupational aluminum dust exposure and health issues.   Our presentation abstract (summary) is below:

    PLATFORM 26 

    The McIntyre Powder Project: A retrospective study of the health effects of respirable aluminum dust in a cohort of Ontario miners 

    Martell, Janice1 ; Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, Inc. 

    1. Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, Inc. 

    Between 1943 and 1980, at least 20,000 miners were treated prophylactically with McIntyre Powder – a finely ground, respirable dust comprised of 85% aluminum oxide and 15% elemental aluminum. No other group has been exposed to aluminum in this form, intensity, duration, or by similar route of administration (an inhalable, airborne suspension). The only two clinical studies ever conducted on this specific group of workers both supported putative neurologic effects of McIntyre Powder exposure. Over an 18-month period, an informal voluntary registry of 322 exposed workers was compiled by the daughter of a McIntyre Powder-exposed miner – 65% of exposed workers had respiratory diagnoses or symptoms, and 33% had neurological disorders or symptoms. Based on these preliminary findings, a database of exposed mine workers is being compiled by the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers to investigate the causal relationship between McIntyre Powder exposure and adverse health outcomes. 

     

    Acknowledgements 

    Archives of Ontario, Laurentian University Labour Studies Program, Elliot Lake Nuclear & Mining Museum, Office of the Worker Advisor, Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Sudbury and District Labour Council, Timmins and District Labour Council, Timmins Museum, United Steelworkers District 6. We thank the volunteers at the McIntyre Powder Intake Clinics. We thank the miners and their survivors for participating. We thank the media for their interest in this story, with special thanks to The Fifth Estate. 



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