[Sudbury labour activist] Homer still battling – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – March 15, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Homer Seguin has fought formidable opponents before — governments reluctant to enact legislation to protect workers, companies unconcerned about the health and safety of employees, union members vying for the same job.

Seguin, 80, has a new enemy — lung cancer — a disease he believes is related to the 6 1/2 months he worked at Inco’s notorious Copper Cliff sintering plant more than 60 years ago.

A former president of United Steelworkers Local 6500 and USW staff representative, Seguin is best known for fighting for safer workplaces and recognition that diseases like the cancer and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease he suffers are often caused by where people work.

Seguin has been in hospital for six weeks, mostly because of complications relating to dialysis. His health is so poor he isn’t able to undergo surgery, or have chemotherapy or radiation treatment for the two tumours lodged in his lungs.

But he’s determined to recover and get back to championing his latest cause — convincing the provincial govern-m ent to set a standard for nickel and other heavy metals dust in homes.

Until he grew ill, Seguin was chair of the Sudbury Community Committee for Human and Environmental Health. It formed after the completion of the Sudbury Soils Study, a $15-million, eight-year probe into levels of contamination in soil, air and water caused by a century of mining.

But it left out a key area of examination, said Seguin, and that is metal dust indoors.

Seguin and the committee believe heavy metal contamination is hitting people where they live — in the dust in their homes, which in some cases is three to six times higher than concentrations of nickel and lead in soils.

The first step toward addressing that is to set a safe level of nickel dust in homes, a standard that’s been established for air and in workplaces.

“There’s much more pollution in homes for various reasons, and it accumulates,” said Seguin in an interview from his hospital bed at Health Sciences North.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2013/03/15/homer-still-battling

Comments are closed.