QUEEN'S PARK – Jamie West (Sudbury), the NDP Critic for Labour, and Health Critic France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) issued the following statement in response to the government's announcement today that underground Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) in mines will be lowered from 400 to 120 mcg/mg. United Steelworkers (USW) has been asking Ford’s Conservatives to reduce this number to 20 mcg/g for years, as the previous amount far exceeded the legal exposure level mandated by other provinces and jurisdictions in the United States, Europe and Australia.
"The most important thing to come out of a mine will always be the worker,” West said. “This announcement is a step in the right direction, but there is a reason that miners have ‘Make 20 the Limit’ stickers on their lunchpails and hardhats.”
“The best current scientific evidence as published by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, CAREX Canada and the Canadian Occupational Cancer Research Centre indicate that the long-term outcomes of breathing this level of DPM still remains harmful to miners,” Gélinas said. “If the Conservative Minister isn't committed to a timeline towards 20 µg/m³, mining families will continue to see family members die prematurely from preventable occupational diseases."
“No worker should ever be forced to jeopardize their health and safety simply by doing their job. Ford’s Conservatives must continue to listen to miners and health and safety experts and take urgent action to reduce the maximum exposure of diesel particulate in Ontario's mines to 20 mcg/g. It is common sense," said West.