Deadly effects of chemicals get under firefighters skin


by admin on April 28, 2011

The Editor,


Wakefield, Quebec resident Jay Sinha has written an excellent article, “Styro factory does not make light industry” (Low Down, April 20 edition and online), regarding the potential chemical dangers of a fire at the Styro Rail plant.

I have spoken with a team of City of Ottawa firefighters as to why firefighters contract brain-tumour cancers even though they are equipped with breathing apparatus.

The reply is that the cancer-causing chemicals of a typical residential fire, due to the household contents of various plastics gassing off, is not breathed in by the firefighters, but rather the chemicals are absorbed into their blood stream through their skin.

Where is the environmental study, authorized by the Municipality of La Peche, to evaluate the potential risk to the nearby residents’ health and the risk of ground water contamination should a Styro Rail plant fire occur?

What are the City of Gatineau regulations regarding the set-back requirements of the present Styro Rail plant from a residential area?

Does the Municipality of La Peche demand the same residential set-back requirements?

Tire dumps are now illegal in Ontario, following the soil and ground-water contamination caused by uncontrolled accidental tire fires.

Tires appear to me to be just as inert and harmless as styro products. What happens to the environment during an uncontrolled fire of styro products?

Will Styro Rail voluntarily equip the Municipality of La Peche fire department with breathing apparatus and environment hazard suits to protect the firefighters should they need to fight a fire at their plant?

Finally, where is the sewage of the future industrial park toilets to be processed?

Up the Gatineau River from Wakefield?


Norman Bourgault

Wakefield, Quebec