Some dramatize with the Horne foundry, says François Legault

The chief caquiste, François Legault, on Wednesday minimized the health risks linked to arsenic emissions by the Horne foundry in Rouyn-Noranda.

Before hitting the road to Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Mr. Legault reacted to criticism from doctors who accused him of having said Sunday to Everybody talks about it that the situation was safe.

« It depends on the definition of security, » he said in a radio interview with 98.5 FM. I invite everyone in Rouyn-Noranda to read the Public Health report. It’s not as dramatic as some say. »

During a press briefing, following a speech he gave to the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, Mr. Legault did not repeat that the situation was safe.

« I’m not a doctor, there is a public health report available, » he said.

Mr. Legault said he would like to reduce arsenic releases to 3 ng/m³, the Quebec standard.

« They say it’s not technically possible, » he said.

The CAQ government wants to limit the concentration in the air of arsenic emitted by the Horne smelter to 15 ng/m³ within 5 years, while the provincial standard is 3 ng/m³. The company had previously obtained permission to emit a maximum of 100 ng/m³.

In July, a report by the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ) concluded that, over a period of 70 years, between one and fourteen more residents of Rouyn-Noranda would develop cancer if the Glencore company does not reduce arsenic discharges from the Horne smelter.

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