New report on why GE workers paying price for decades of exposure to toxic chemicals

A comprehensive study of chemical exposures at GE’s Peterborough plant shows workers routinely handled more than 3,000 highly toxic substances in decades past. GE has said protective measures were appropriate for the time and that health and safety of workers has always been ‘No. 1 priority.’

“For many years, workers and their family members were forced to provide proof as to their working conditions, only to be told this is anecdotal,” said Sue James, whose father Gord worked at the plant for 30 years and died of lung and spinal cancer, diseases his family believes were caused by his exposure to workplace chemicals.

“This report is a true depiction of the working conditions of the GE plant from its very beginnings until approximately 2000, when safety measures were finally being mandated,” said James, who was also employed by the company for 30 years and is among 11 retirees who worked as advisers on the report.

“It honours and recognizes the struggles and grief of a working community and gives validation to a historic past,” she added.

Plant workers, who built everything from household appliances to diesel locomotive engines and fuel cells for nuclear reactors, were exposed to more than 3,000 toxic chemicals, including at least 40 known or suspected to cause cancer, at levels hundreds of times higher than what is now considered safe, the report says.

Subsequent to the release of this report the Canadian Labour Minister Kevin Flynn seeks “expedited” settlement process for workers exposed to toxic chemicals at Peterborough plant in decades past.  Read the news report here.

Read the original article in the Toronto Star here.

The full report prepared by Robert DeMatteo and Dale DeMatteo available to download here.