MAC: Mines and Communities


Published by MAC on 2002-12-10


Dofasco Rejects McMaster University Study - Results Speculative and Irresponsible

HAMILTON, ON, Dec. 10 /CNW/ -

Dofasco Inc. today rejected the findings of a McMaster study widely reported in the media linking steel mills and gene damage in mice.

"We dismiss this study as speculative and irresponsible," said John Mayberry, Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Dofasco.

"This is disappointing. There appeared to be no effort whatsoever to scientifically establish the actual cause of the gene damage among the test mice."

The researchers test site was near the Hamilton Beach Strip, downwind from the entire city of Hamilton, including the industrial core, and adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth Highway, one of the busiest stretches of highway in North America. "There would have been at least 100,000 vehicles passing within a stone's throw of the mice each day over the course of the study," said Mayberry.

Mayberry said he saw no evidence of any effort to isolate sources of emissions. "We saw no evidence of the researchers distinguishing steel mills from other sources upwind of the test site. We saw no evidence of them distinguishing steel mill emissions from vehicle exhaust. We do not believe there were adequate research controls in the study in regards to identifying or distinguishing the potential sources of emissions or their effects."

Further, the study concluded polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were the cause of the genetic mutations in test mice. "The researchers isolated this element from other elements found in the ambient air and declared it the cause of the gene damage in mice, but they do not provide compelling evidence or explanation for this linkage," said Mayberry.

A consultant from GlobalTox, an international consulting firm, commented on the issue earlier today. "It looks like from the study that we have no idea what these animals were exposed to," Coreen A. Robbins is quoted as saying.

She went on to characterize the causal relationships of the research findings as "a big stretch." Dofasco encourages academic research that benefits the community.

"We are committed to the well-being of our environment and our community, which is reflected in our performance and through third party validation of our industry leadership. We would welcome and encourage more accurate and thorough research to definitively identify the cause of the gene damage." Dofasco was also highly disappointed in the quality of news reporting.

"While this study received prominent coverage by a number of news agencies, not one news reporter called Dofasco to request our opinion on the study. In our view, the steel industry should have been provided the opportunity to comment," said Mayberry.

Dofasco is a leading North American steel solutions provider. Product lines include hot rolled, cold rolled, galvanized, Extragal (TM), Galvalume(TM) and tinplate flat rolled steels, as well as tubular products and laser welded blanks. Dofasco's wide range of steel products is sold to customers in the automotive, construction, energy, manufacturing, pipe and tube, appliance, packaging and steel distribution industries.

NB - There is a response to this press release posted on our site.
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