(Bloomberg) — Quebec’s public health director took aim at Glencore Plc for toxic emissions at a copper smelter in the province’s northwest, saying the level of pollution must be brought down quickly because of evidence it’s causing increased risk of cancer and other health problems.
The Horne Smelter in Rouyn-Noranda, a remote city about 600 kilometers (373 miles) northwest of Montreal, is emitting 165 nanograms of arsenic per cubic meter of air on site, according to a recent study by public health authorities in the Canadian province. That’s 55 times the standard safe level of 3 nanograms.
It must be brought down to 15 nanograms, according to Luc Boileau, who was appointed this year as Quebec’s top public health official.
“The actual situation from the Horne Smelter is not acceptable,” Boileau said. “At a threshold of 15 nanograms, the protection objectives will be achieved. It reduces the risk of lung cancer for the general population.” In a neighborhood near the plant, arsenic pollution is 90 nanograms, or 30 times the standard.
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