Sault doctor concerned about health effects of proposed smelter
SAULT STE. MARIE -- People in Sault Ste, Marie heard from a local physician Tuesday night who has concerns about the proposed ferrochrome smelter planned for the city.
Dr. Robert Suppes is an emergency room doctor at the Sault Area Hospital.
He says there could be respiratory effects for anyone working at the smelter and that exposure through soil and groundwater contamination could lead to various types of cancer.
He pointed to a number of studies from across the world to back his concerns.
About 75 people turned out to hear the findings, ask questions, and discuss next steps.
"There’s a very significant link between chromium-containing dust and lung cancer, and there’s also a very good link between chromium 6 in groundwater and stomach cancer and liver cancer, which I think are a big concern for the proposed smelter in the city," said Dr. Suppes.
Leslie Dafoe and Kara Flannigan are concerned Sault Ste. Marie residents that attended the doctor's presentation.
“I’m very, very concerned that they’re thinking of bringing a smelter right within city limits. There isn’t any such establishment anywhere else in the world and for a good reason," said Dafoe.
"We really need to look at what we value about living here in Sault Ste. Marie, and what we want to protect, and where we want to go," said Flannigan.
Dr. Suppes says he encourages the community to get informed and would like the city to put together an independent review process that will help weigh the pros and cons of bringing a smelter to Sault Ste. Marie.