IN THEIR OWN WORDS… A CONVERSATION WITH THE McINTYRE POWDER PROJECT MINERS
The McIntyre Powder Project miners will be featured in an international online (Zoom) event on Sept 8, 2022. They will be speaking about life underground, inhaling McIntyre Powder, the “light duty program” that sent injured workers back to work or paid them to stay home to avoid filing compensation claims, concerns with the radiation dosimeter and chest x-ray monitoring programs, and more!
ALL ARE WELCOME TO REGISTER for this event and listen to the stories of these mine workers. This is a rare opportunity to hear miners speak about their working conditions, life underground, and what it was like for them to inhale McIntyre Powder aluminum dust.
TO REGISTER: Click on the “Sept 8 Zoom” link under the “Links” tab of the McIntyre Powder Project website and follow the instructions to order a ticket for the event from Eventbrite.
NOTE: The Sept 8th session is being recorded. Anyone who registers for the event will receive an email link to a copy of the recording once it is available, following the event.
IMPORTANT!! We invite any McIntyre Powder-exposed miner or worker to join in with the McIntyre Powder Project, New Solutions Journal staff and your fellow miners to speak, comment, or share your story during the online event. In addition to registering with Eventbrite, you will also need to contact Janice Martell (McIntyre Powder Project founder) ahead of time, so that we can send you a speaker’s Zoom link. Please contact Janice at 1-800-461-7120 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org Help is available if you don’t know how to use Zoom or how to register. Contact Janice for assistance.
DATE: Thursday, September 8, 2022
LENGTH: This is a 90-minute (1.5 hours) session, with 60 minutes of conversation, and then 30 minutes of Questions & Answers from the audience. This is an international event, so the start time will vary depending on your time zone (check list below).
START TIME: 1 p.m. Eastern (eastern and northern Ontario, New York, etc.)
Check your time zone for start times. Some examples are below.
10 a.m. Pacific (British Columbia, California, etc.)
11 a.m. Mountain (Edmonton, Alberta)
11 a.m. Central Standard Time (Regina, Saskatchewan)
12 p.m. Central Daylight Savings Time (Kenora, ON, Winnipeg, Manitoba)
2:00 p.m. Atlantic
2:30 p.m. Newfoundland
COST: Donation-based. [FREE for McIntyre Powder Project mine workers]. Donations are in US dollars and the suggested donation is $20.
[Donations will cover the cost of the event, allow affected miners to attend at no cost, and the remaining proceeds will be used by New Solutions Journal to fund open access fees for their "Voices" articles so that other workers' voices around the world are heard.]
HOW TO REGISTER:
1. Click on the Eventbrite link (see “Sept 8 Zoom” under “Links” on this website) and follow the instructions on screen to register.
2. You will be sent a confirmation email from Eventbrite that you are registered, with a link to join the event on Sept 8th.
3. This will allow you to watch and listen to the Sept 8th event on your computer/tablet. It will not allow you to speak at the event (see step 4 below), although you can type in questions or comments in the “Chat” feature of Zoom during the event.
4. In order to be able to speak at the event, McIntyre Powder Project miners and mine workers need to contact Janice Martell to confirm that they want to be able to participate in the conversation. You will be sent a Zoom "speaker's link" for the event. We are also holding a practice Zoom session on Friday, August 12, 2022 at 1 p.m. (Eastern time) for the miners to get familiar with Zoom and meet your fellow mine workers who will be taking part in the Sept 8th discussion.
Photo: miners await McIntyre Powder aluminum inhalation "treatment" on the man deck at Campbell Red Lake Gold Mine in April 1966 before the cage transports them underground (photo courtesy of Hugh & Enid Carlson)
Life Underground was seldom spoken of by the miners, electricians, mechanics, and others who spent their working life below surface, even to their own families.
Rare Insight into this world is now captured in the article "Breathe Deep, Boys: Voices of the McIntyre Powder Project miners", which was published in New Solutions Journal in February 2022.
Read about what the miners experienced with McIntyre Powder inhalation, working conditions, incentives against making workers' compensation claims, the "light duty" program, and more.
"Mining is the most unfriendly and unforgiving environment. They sent us in to do these jobs, knowing full well that we coudn't do them safe. You were climibing down hanging rods of shaft with three or four hundred feet of nothing below you."
Find "Breathe Deep, Boys!" under the "LINKS" section of this website.
(by Janice Hobbs Martell, McIntyre Powder Project Founder)
I am a miner’s daughter and I never knew. At the time that it was happening to Dad in the late 1970s – when he was locked in a room by his employer and had no choice but to breathe in extremely fine particles of airborne aluminum dust known as McIntyre Powder – he never spoke of it to his family.
Learning about this forced practice of industrial medical treatments decades later was horrifying, and it added to the helplessness that I already felt watching Dad struggle with Parkinson’s. As pieces of him were slowly, progressively claimed by this unforgiving neurological disorder, it became more and more important to me to ensure that the history of McIntyre Powder and its use against industrial workers was documented.
In August, 2021, New Solutions Journal published the story of McIntyre Powder, its impacts on my father’s life, and the work of the McIntyre Powder Project – as researched and written by me and my coauthor, Dr. Tee L. Guidotti. You can read the full article, Trading One Risk for Another, under the “Links” section of this website.
The McIntyre Powder Project began out of love for my father, Jim Hobbs. It continues out of love and respect for all of the McIntyre Powder Project miners and their families, who have very much become family to me.
"Dust versus Dust: Aluminum Therapy and Silicosis in the Canadian and Global Mining Industries" - by Mica Jorgenson and John Sandlos
The McIntyre Powder Project is thrilled to announce that the history of the McIntyre Powder aluminum prophylaxis program and its control by the northern Ontario mining industry is now documented in a thorough and well-researched article published in March 2021 in The Canadian Historical Review (Volume 102, Issue 1).
You can read this excellent article by clicking on "Dust vs. Dust" under the "Links" tab.
NOTE from McIntyre Powder Project Founder Janice Martell: When I first began researching McIntyre Powder in 2011, an online search yielded two entries: the Sandra Rifat study found on this website, and a notation in the Mining Hall of Fame honouring McIntyre Porcupine Mine Manager R.J. Ennis for instituting the use of McIntyre Powder inhalation to address the problem of silicosis. When I researched archival records from the McIntyre Research Foundation, the Ontario Mining Association, and relevant government entities, the control that the northern Ontario mining industry had over the McIntyre Powder story was pervasive. The "Dust versus Dust" article offers a comprehensive review of the "quick fix" use of McIntyre Powder by the mining industry to combat silicosis, at an unknown cost to the health and lives of the miners and workers who were given no choice but to "breathe deep, boys!"
NEW! A review of archival records from the Government of Western Australia has enabled the McIntyre Powder Project to compile a list of Western Australia gold mines that historically were licenced to use McIntyre Powder aluminum dust in miners' change houses. Please see the list under "Resources".
Summary of McIntyre Powder use in Western Australia Gold Mines
McIntyre Research Foundation (a group of mining executives and industrial physicians formed in Canada) granted license to the Government of Western Australia regarding the use of McIntyre Powder (aluminum dust) in WA gold mines. The Department of Mines in Western Australia acted as a McIntyre Research Foundation agent, issuing sub-licences on behalf of the Foundation to Western Australian gold mines.
McIntyre Research Foundation shipped aluminum dust dispersal equipment (e.g. powder ejectors) and canisters of McIntyre Powder to WA gold mines in 1950, and once equipped, WA gold mines began the use of McIntyre Powder in miners’ changerooms in 1950 – by year’s end, 10 mines had commenced aluminum prophylaxis in 21 change houses, and 1450 men were taking the treatment. The 1952 Department of Mines Western Australia report indicated that 28 changerooms were using McIntyre Powder, and 2,387 men were licensed to receive treatment. By 1956, 25 mine changerooms were using it, and 2,757 men were taking the aluminum dust treatment. Fraser’s Mine began using McIntyre Powder in 1957, and Croesus Mine in 1958. Officially, treatment was “voluntary” but practically, it was difficult to avoid exposure.
In 1964, a vote was held to determine if miners wanted to continue aluminum dust treatment, and the miners voted in favour of continuation. However, by 1966, the Western Australia Department of Mines reported that “both management and labour show little interest in this treatment”. The annual Department of Mines reports indicated that in the late 1960s, aluminum therapy was available to the miners, but its use was in decline, noting “spasmodic and negligible” use by 1968. The last mention of aluminum therapy in the Department of Mines annual reports was in 1970 – simply noting that “Provision for the prophylactic treatment with aluminum powder was available at most gold mines”.
4873 Western Australian gold miners had McIntyre Powder exposure documented on their miners’ work cards.
(Sources: WA Government Archives; Department of Mines Western Australia annual reports)