Cancer cases in Rouyn-Noranda | dr Arruda met with the Horne smelt before gathering intel

Horacio Arruda met with officials from the Horne foundry in Rouyn-Noranda on September 26, 2019, before removing an attachment from a document set for release that pointed to the link between arsenic emissions and cancer cases in the city.

Posted at 2:19 p.m

Jean Thomas Leveille

Jean Thomas Leveille
The press

This emerges from the report of the meeting of the Advisory Committee on the supervision of the biomonitoring study in the district of Notre-Dame near the foundry, held later the same day and available on the website of the Integrated Health and Social Care Services Center (CISSS) of Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

“The company is a key player in finding a solution,” said the Dright Arruda, who at the time was Deputy Assistant Minister at the Quebec Department of Health and Human Services and national director of public health.

The addendum, which was withdrawn at his request, noted that arsenic, which is very present in the city’s air due to emissions from the Horne foundry, “is an aggravating factor conducive to the development of lung cancer.”

The Dright Arruda justified the withdrawal of this addendum by saying that “the lung cancer data will be specified in another independent and more complete document, which will be published later”, which happened two and a half years later, last May.

The Dright Arruda had also met that day with representatives of the City of Rouyn-Noranda, the Rouyn-Noranda Discharges and Toxic Emissions Stop Committee (ARET), which brings together parents and residents of the Notre-Dame neighborhood near the foundry, as well as the Ministry of Environment and Climate Protection.

not reducing emissions

The idea of ​​requiring the smelter to reduce its arsenic emissions came from the Dright Arruda unveiled his report during this September 2019 meeting.

Arsenic levels in the Notre-Dame neighborhood averaged 100 nanograms per cubic meter (ng/m⁠⁠3) in 2021, well above the Quebec standard of 3 ng/m⁠⁠3reported The pressin March – but the foundry is allowed to exceed it, because this standard came into force in 2011, long after it started operations in 1927.

“Why is there no health and safety target proposed by the DSPu? asked Dright Arruda a person attending the meeting.

“It’s more important to focus on concrete immediate actions than to agonize over a goal to achieve that the company has already said it couldn’t achieve,” he replied, referring to the idea of ​​an “intermediate goal.” “.

The air quality file in Rouyn-Noranda is “taken seriously by the highest authorities in the government,” assured the Dright Arruda and even mentioned the possibility of ” [r]Open the foundry’s decontamination certificate to request “additional measures”, which never happened.

The foundry’s sanitation certificate, which is valid for five years, expires this year and is currently being renewed.

Advisor to the Minister… or not

Horacio Arruda had traveled to Abitibi-Témiscamingue “as an adviser to Minister Dright Lionel Carmant,” he explains in the minutes of the meeting, information reported by Radio-Canada on Monday that the minister’s office initially denied.

“The information reported by Radio-Canada [lundi] Tomorrow is wrong,” he had said The press Minister Carmant’s press attaché, Lambert Drainville, added that “the Dright Arruda did not act as an advisor to Minister Carmant. »

The minister’s press attaché, who was contacted again on Tuesday, qualified: “What we said [lundi]isn’t that the dright Arruda was only appointed as an advisor to Minister Carmant.”

The Dright Horacio Arruda and his successor, the Dright Luc Boileau did not respond to numerous requests The press since Monday, but the Department of Health and Social Services (MSSS) issued a press release on Tuesday night saying it “never been about hiding anything”.


The General Directorate of Public Health must accept the decision of Dright Arruda to remove the annex on cancer from the report published in 2019 thundered Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue MP Émilise Lessard-Therrien.

“Are there other data that we are trying to hide from people in my area? She asked.

The people of my region will not forget on October 3 that the CAQ maneuvered to hide from them information about the quality of the air we breathe.

Émilise Lessard-Therrien, MNA for Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue

The gesture of Dright For its part, Arruda “undermines the population’s trust” in the authorities, assessed the ARET Committee, which attended the September 26, 2019 meeting and has since mentioned the annex in question in various communications.

“We felt it was important to publish this addendum,” he explained The press a person responsible for the organization, Nicole Desgagnés. It’s really unsettling and worrying. »

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    The arsenic concentrations in the fingernails of citizens of the Notre-Dame neighborhood are, on average, four times higher than in the control population of Amos, which is not exposed to industrial sources of arsenic.

    SOURCE: Integrated Health and Social Services Center Abitibi-Témiscamingue (CISSS)

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