Doctors refute “worrying” remarks by Legault on the Horne foundry

Three Rouyn-Noranda doctors criticize Mr. Legault for having minimized the impact of emissions from the Horne smelter during his visit to Everybody talks about it last Sunday. The leader of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) had said that the situation is “safe” according to public health, which doctors strongly refute. They urge the government to do more.

« Hearing things like that, at prime time, in the midst of public consultations, I found that worrying, » says the DD Marie-Pier Lemieux, member of the IMPACTE Committee (Medical Initiative for Action Against Environmental Toxicity) of Rouyn-Noranda, in an interview with The duty.

With two other doctors on the committee, she sent a press release on Tuesday in order to « rectify the facts » put forward by Mr. Legault. “We wanted to react because we felt that there was a minimization of health problems”, adds Mme The best.

During his visit to Everybody talks about it, Mr. Legault made a point of specifying that “it is up to the people of Rouyn-Noranda” to decide on the Horne foundry, rather than to other voters from elsewhere in Quebec. The host, Guy A. Lepage, had precisely asked him if this posture – the same one that he adopts in relation to the people of Quebec on the third link – was not part of an electoral strategy.

“There are 650 well-paid jobs. It is up to the people of Rouyn-Noranda to decide whether or not they want the business to remain open. Public health says it’s safe, ”defended François Legault.

Calls to Action

However, the IMPACT Committee affirms that “public health has never said that ‘it’s safe’”. Doctors recall that public health has « rather ruled » that the threshold for arsenic emissions of 15 ng / m3 — an annual average of daily emissions — proposed by the CAQ government, and accepted by the foundry, could only be safe if certain conditions were met.

Public health has in fact ruled that the daily thresholds must also be respected (200 ng / m3 for arsenic, 350 for lead, and 30 for cadmium), that the annual thresholds for metals other than arsenic must be respected, and that the soil must be decontaminated.

Given these recommendations, the doctors specify that the situation “is not currently safe”. Mme Lemieux therefore urged the government to act. She recalls that public health recommends that the government reach a threshold of 3 ng / m3 » as quickly as possible « .

“You have to understand that in the agreement reached between the government and the foundry, each party made its compromise. We now find ourselves with compromises upon compromises. For us, it is not at all satisfactory in terms of health. We want the Quebec standard of 3 ng/m3 be achieved within five years, » says Dr.D The best.

The IMPACT Committee is also asking to meet Mr. Legault when he is in Rouyn-Noranda on September 29th. However, the Prime Minister’s team has not responded to their request for the moment and has not specified to the To have to if she intended to, as these lines were written.

An electoral issue

The management of emissions from the Horne smelter and soil decontamination certainly remains one of the main issues of the election campaign in Rouyn-Noranda.

Mid-campaign, The duty reported that voters remain divided between environmental concerns, especially claimed by Québec solidaire, and a desire to revive and diversify the economy, on which the CAQ is counting to take this riding from the left-wing party.

Mme Lemieux hopes that voters will make the environment and health a priority when voting: “It’s a subject that is very important for the future of our community, it’s crucial. »

To see in video

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