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Radon gas levels at Ontario hatchery prompt action from Ministry of Labour


January 27, 2015
By Rebecca Phillips

An employee’s complaint about working conditions at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s (MNRF) Dorion Fish Culture Station prompted an investigation by the Ministry of Labour. As a consequence the hatchery has been given orders to meet guidelines for managing radon gas.

 Labour ministry spokesperson Janet Deline provided a list of the eight orders issued to the hatchery late last fall. These include a requirement to submit a compliance plan and conduct long-term monitoring, and to ensure personnel are given information and instruction about the gas.

 Deline said early in January that of the orders given, only two had been complied with — a Radiation Safety Office has been appointed and access restrictions to keep worker exposure to radon levels low.

 “We take this issue very seriously,” senior MNRF media relations officer​ Jolanta Kowalski was reported as saying.

 “The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has been monitoring radon levels at Dorion for several decades,” Kowalski was quoted as saying, “and (it) has made numerous ventilation system improvements over the years to reduce radon levels. The most recent improvements were implemented in 2013.”

 Both ministries were stated as working with the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada “to ensure full compliance.”

 “Breathing air containing radon gas can give a radiation dose to the lungs which increases the risk of lung cancer,” reads a report from a Canada-wide news agency. “This is one of the known causes of increased lung cancer rates in uranium miners who can be exposed to especially high doses.”

— Quentin Dodd


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