Métallurgie Magnola recently established
a plant that uses asbestos tailings for magnesium extraction in Asbestos,
Québec. Currently, no comparable facilities exist elsewhere, and local
citizens are concerned about the presence of Magnola's plant. This report
on our project attempts to answer the three main questions posed by the Comité
1) Are Magnola's prevention measures of groundwater contamination and emission of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) from the tailings pond adequate?
2) What are the effects of Magnola's emission, most notably HCB, on human health?
3) How will the ecology be affected on the local and regional scales?
These questions are concerns for the local citizens because researchers are still investigating the effects of HCB exposure on human health. In addition, HCB is known to bioaccumulate in the food chain and animals are likely to be affected to some degree. Presently, the emission projection cannot be verified. Sources of information of this investigation include scientific literature and communications with representatives of the company and government agents. Several recommendations were made for both Magnola and the Comité de Citoyens based on our calculations and safety standards established by authorities. The plant appears to produce little observable effects on human health and ecology. However, the population risk level is not uniform, and a more rigorous monitoring program should be devised.