Parkinson's is now officially recognized by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) as an OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE for workers who were previously required to inhale McIntyre Powder (finely ground aluminum dust) on the job.
On June 23, 2020, the WSIB (the workers' compensation authority in Ontario, Canada) published an "Adjudicative approach document" on its website under "McIntyre Powder Update", to explain "how we make decisions about Parkinson's disease claims related to McIntyre Powder". The initial paragraphs of this document are reproduced below, but the full document is available on the WSIB website.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR WORKERS OR THEIR ESTATES (Next-of Kin) in Ontario, Canada:
If you were a mine or factory worker in Ontario, Canada with a diagnosis of Parkinson's, and you were exposed to McIntyre Powder during the course of your employment, you should file a workers' compensation claim with the Ontario WSIB. If the worker is deceased, the worker's next-of-kin should file a WSIB claim on behalf of the Estate.
In cases where the worker or Estate is unsure about McIntyre Powder exposure, you are welcome to contact Janice Martell of the McIntyre Powder Project for assistance at 1-800-461-7120.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR WORKERS OR THEIR ESTATES (Next-of Kin) anywhere else in the WORLD:
McIntyre Powder was historically used (between 1943-1979) as a compulsory preventative medical treatment (prophylaxis) for workers in multiple workplaces in Canada, the United States, Western Australia, Belgian Congo, Mexico and Chile, plus an extended trial at Geevor Tin Mine in England. [Refer to list of known industrial licensees under our "RESOURCES" tab on this website]. McIntyre Powder was primarily used in industries (mines and factories) where workers were exposed to silica dust, on the unproven (since disproven) theory that inhaling finely ground aluminum dust would prevent the lung disease silicosis.
In March, 2020 an epidemiological data linkage study conducted by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC) in Ontario, Canada, found an increased risk of Parkinson's and parkinsonism in Ontario miners related to McIntyre Powder exposure. A copy of this study can be found on the Occupational Cancer Research Centre website (https://www.occupationalcancer.ca/2020/mcintyre-powder-study/).
If you were a mine or factory worker anywhere else in the WORLD with a diagnosis of Parkinson's, and you were exposed to McIntyre Powder during the course of your employment, you should contact your local workers' compensation authority to file a claim. If the worker is deceased, the worker's next-of-kin should contact your local workers' compensation authority to file a claim on behalf of the Estate.
WSIB Adjudicative Approach Document highlights:
The WSIB recognizes Parkinson’s disease resulting from occupational exposure to McIntyre Powder as an occupational disease.
Initial entitlement is allowed for Parkinson’s disease that occurs due to the nature of one or more employments in which the worker was exposed to McIntyre Powder.
Claims for initial entitlement for Parkinson’s disease will be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, entitlement decisions for Parkinson’s disease must be based on the merits and justice of the case, taking into account all of the facts and circumstances.
The purpose of this adjudicative approach document is to provide entitlement guidelines for claims of Parkinson’s disease in Ontario miners with McIntyre Powder exposure.
Determining initial entitlement In determining the work-relatedness of Parkinson’s disease claims, the decision-maker will consider whether:
1. the nature of the worker’s employment resulted in exposure to McIntyre Powder;
2. the worker has an established diagnosis for Parkinson’s disease; and
3. the exposure to McIntyre Powder preceded the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
If established, the above will generally be considered persuasive evidence that the worker’s employment made a significant contribution to the worker’s Parkinson’s disease."
(Source: WSIB website, McIntyre Powder Update, accessed July 2, 2020: https://www.wsib.ca/en/mcintyre-powder-update)