Windsor, Ontario – The Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) is working with health researchers to explore any potential breast cancer dangers to employees working on auto assembly lines.
The Canadian National Network on Environments and Women’s Health (NNEWH), based in Toronto’s York University, has been concerned about the growing body of literature linking breast cancer and other diseases with environmental and occupational exposures, and has partnered with the CAW to bring workers and researchers together.
“As consumers, we’ve been told that there are health concerns with the off-gassing of plastics in new cars,” said researcher Margaret Keith, who has been studying the health profiles of women working in the plastics sector of the auto industry in Windsor. “If these pose a risk to consumers, then what health impact might this have on the workers, mainly women, who manufacture these parts for our cars daily?”
Research on the possible links between plastics manufacturing and breast cancer risk has found that the typical plastics work environment includes solvents, plastics smoke, dust and vapours, many of them chemicals that are cancer-causing agents or hormone disrupters.
A recent workshop outlined the issues and discussed strategies for positive change.