It's Their Fault Regardless
You got it---THEM! No matter what it is, THEY are the easy target. As Dan Stamper once said:
- " Can I fix the world? No. Did I damage the world? Am I the devil? No,"
- "Rev. Paul Walsh, pastor of Assumption Church, the annual displacement by a few inches of the office's "500-pound" cabinets does not call for exorcism. Nor is it a sign from above. It is, he says, more likely explained by incessant vibrations from transport trucks crossing the Ambassador Bridge overhead."
- According to Kennedy, vibrations from trucks are causing plaster to fall from the church's ceiling, forcing the blocking of certain pews. "You're literally destroying a 150-year-old church that we dearly love," said Kennedy.
Then came Essex Hall at the University of Windsor and the cancer scare inquiry whose Report has now been published.
- May 24, 2007
"engineering professor Derek Northwood, who has spent 28 years in the building...
pointed out the problem, if there is one, could originate outside the building.
I've known a number of people who have either passed away from cancer causes or who have cancer," said Northwood. "But I know just as many who didn't work in Essex Hall. It may have nothing to do with Essex Hall and everything to do with Windsor or the west end."
Patrick Seguin said there is reason to be concerned about Essex Hall in particular.
Despite the air quality tests, he said people still worry about what they're breathing. He pointed out a number of air vents clogged with thick black dirt.
"That's the kind of thing we've been concerned about," said Seguin, an engineering technologist and treasurer of CUPE local 1393. "You've got to look at this and figure it's not really good."
He said the testing might not detect other dangers in the air from fuel residue, Ambassador Bridge truck fumes and solvents used in the machine shops and research labs.
"This is a research building," said Seguin. "Who'se to say what kind of stuff they're cooking up?"
Masters student Umme Akhtar, who has worked in the building for a year, said mercury levels inside some labs are higher than what you'd be exposed to outside the building.
"If you have to stay in the labs all the time it's not good for you," she said."
- Setember 16, 2008
Patrick Seguin, CUPE Local 1393 treasurer and an engineering technologist who has worked in Essex Hall for 30 years, said he's not satisfied with the university's explanation for not releasing the cancer study's preliminary findings.
"It's certainly concerning," he said. "If there is no problem at Essex Hall, then there's no reason not to show us the report. It makes your imagination run wild."
DiCarlo and Seguin said the draft report should have been sent to the university's central safety committee for review because it addresses a major health issue.
"You're never 100 per cent sure what's going on in the building," Seguin said. "We have an old ventilation system ... and some people are worried about what kind of stuff they're breathing in."
Before commissioning the Essex Hall cancer study, the university did air quality tests in the building. The results didn't set off any alarm bells.
Seguin said the cancer rates at Essex Hall may also be influenced by external factors, such as the building's proximity to the Ambassador Bridge and the hundreds of diesel trucks that pass through the area each day."
The results are in and the relevant conclusions are:
- The total (all cancers combined) cancer rates experienced by Essex Hall workers who began work between 1955 and 2005, was dramatically lower than the cancer rates of the general population of Windsor-Essex (p<.05). In fact, these workers developed cancer at only ½ to 2/3 the rate of the Windsor-Essex standard population.
- Male total cancer rates held at two thirds of the standard rates or less, regardless of whether they worked in South or North Essex Hall.
- Male total cancer rates held at two thirds of the standard rates or less, regardless of whether they started work before or after 1990.
- It follows from 1. to 3. above that the results of this study do not support any excess of total cancer in this work group. In fact, they point more to a deficit of total cancer.
- Ecological studies, such as this one, are blunt tools and therefore do not generally provide strong evidence for a causative relationship between an exposure and disease. This is particularly true, since there is no “smoking gun” in this study. A smoking gun is a well-established causal factor for a disease that workers were known to be exposed.
- This study shows a statistical significant excess of multiple myeloma (when the Waldenstrom’s was counted as a myeloma) in South Essex Hall that was consistent with a causal link to exposures in South Essex Hall. The sum of the statistical and exposure data is too weak to differentiate between the possibilities that the excess of multiple myeloma was a chance finding, was a true finding but not due to Essex Hall exposures, or a true finding due to Essex Hall exposures.
- Although only one case of CML developed in this cohort, it is a somewhat unusual statistical event, as well, particularly when the more stable Ontario standard rates were used. Although CML is a distinct condition, Waldenstrom’s and multiple myeloma are similar in that they are all disorders of blood cells originating in the bone marrow. The development of these three rare cancers, that share important characteristics, taken together, is suggestive of pertinent exposures. Furthermore, all three cancers occurred in men who started work in South Essex Hall workers who started before 1985. The evidence is not nearly sufficient, however, to infer a causal link to exposures in South Essex Hall.
- The study results suggest that MWF exposures experienced by tool and die workers, may have been largely responsible for the excess of rare cancers noted. The evidence supporting a causal link between tool and die work and the rare cancers, however, is weak and circumstantial. Conclusions are limited by the small number of relevant tool and die workers, and the limited knowledge about the relationship between MWF exposures from this time period and the rare cancers found in this study. Additionally, none of the tool and die workers developed a cancer that is strongly linked to MWFs in the scientific literature.
As for diesel fumes:
- In September of 2001, the University contacted Pinchin Environmental to perform the hygiene testing. The air monitoring was completed in February 2002. The results of the air monitoring showed levels below the set limits. There were however, some PCB and mercury present and, in fact, loose mercury found on the floor in one area. While diesel particulates were shown to be low, it should be pointed out that testing was done on only 3 days in February 2002. We would expect seasonal variability in diesel particulates. During smoggy periods of the heavy summer driving season one would expect to find, higher readings. More recent testing by Pinchin done in 2007 in mid summer, however, showed diesel particulates to be well below set limits.
What could have caused some of the rarer cancers:
- "Two of the three rarer cancers of concern occurred in tool and die workers. The CML and Waldenstrom’s cases occurred in tool and die workers who worked at this trade for at least part of their work-time in Essex Hall. These two employees also worked in close proximity to one another...
- A possible interpretation of the rare cancer findings in this study is that the excess in these cancers were due, entirely or in part to exposures specifically associated with tool and die work...
- In summary, the study results suggest that MWF exposures may have been largely responsible for the excess of rare cancers noted. The evidence supporting this contention, is however weak and circumstantial. Conclusions are limited by the very small number of relevant tool and die workers, and the limited knowledge about the relationship between MWF exposures from this time period and the rare cancers found in this study."
You can read the whole Report here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/7570334/essexhallrev