Organization promises further study to explore potential links in Northern miners
A WSIB-commissioned review of scientific research into the connection between aluminum powder exposure in the workplace and adverse health effects in humans has failed to find a link between exposure and illness.
On Aug. 17, the WSIB issued a release with the findings of the review — titled Systematic Review of Occupational Aluminum Exposure and Adverse Health Conditions — which Intrinsik Corp. launched earlier this year. “Overall, the systematic review and the statistical analysis conducted showed that the question of health risks from workplace aluminum exposure is complicated,” reads the study’s summary.
“The findings across the literature were inconsistent. Epidemiological studies have failed to establish consistent associations or clear exposure response relationships between workplace aluminum exposure and nervous system-related diseases, cognitive outcomes, lung function outcomes, and other negative outcomes.”
The study comes following mounting pressure from former miners who were required to inhale finely ground aluminum — known in the industry as McIntyre Powder — prior to their shifts at various mines across the North, as a condition of their employment.
Impacted miners have been brought together through the efforts of Janice Martell, who founded the McIntyre Powder Project, a quest to find more answers following the 2001 diagnosis of Parkinson’s in her father Jim Hobbs, a retired miner. Hobbs died of the disease in May of this year.
Intrinsik said it reviewed 63 epidemiological studies, published between 1985 and 2016, which looked into health effects associated with workplace exposure to aluminum.