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Fwd Hospital Bars Visit by PCBs Expert

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  • jacky_0greene
    A long-simmering controversy over a proposed incinerator erupted in Kirkland Lake again yesterday when North America s top medical expert on the dangers of
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 6, 2002
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      A long-simmering controversy over a proposed incinerator erupted in
      Kirkland Lake again yesterday when North America's top medical expert
      on the dangers of PCBs found himself barred from the local hospital.

      Dr. Peter Orris, a professor of medicine at the University of
      Illinois, whose visit was sponsored by the Ontario College of Family
      Physicians, was told he wasn't welcome at the 60-bed Kirkland Lake
      Hospital.

      "I thought it was outrageous. I've given this talk at medical
      facilities all over the world and I have never been turned away at
      the door before. It reflects badly on the board of governors," said
      Orris in a telephone interview from North Bay Airport, where he
      caught a flight back to Chicago last night.

      Orris, president of the medical staff at Cook County Hospital in
      Chicago, said it's not uncommon for the medical staff of a facility
      to invite him to a hospital to give an opinion.

      "I'd be scandalized if it happened to someone I had invited," said
      Orris, who spent the morning talking to medical staff at the nearby
      New Liskeard Hospital, where the welcome mat was rolled out.

      Hal Fjeldsted, Kirkland Lake Hospital chief executive officer, said
      Orris was barred because organizers failed to get permission for his
      visit.

      That's "nonsense," said family practitioner Dr. Richard Denton. "We
      frequently have various people visit the hospital to give lectures
      and talk to the medical staff, but because he's a world expert who
      was going to talk about the dangers of PCBs, he was barred."

      Orris moved his lecture to a motel.

      With a proposal by Vancouver-based Bennett Environmental Inc. for a
      Kirkland Lake incinerator that would remove PCBs, dioxins and other
      dangerous chemicals from contaminated soils going through the
      environmental assessment process, local physicians wanted to hear
      about any potential health risks, Denton said.

      At their request, the Ontario College of Family Physicians sponsored
      a visit by Orris, who is considered a world expert on the subject,
      said Riina Bray, chair of the college's environmental health
      committee.

      Denton, a former mayor, initially supported the proposal as long as
      it was to be "out in the middle of nowhere," but changed his mind
      when he heard it was to be in town. He was one of 34 doctors who
      signed an April 10 declaration that the facility is "not in the
      public's best interest."

      Mayor Bill Enouy, the pro-Adams Mine campaigner who won office just
      as Toronto killed a plan to ship garbage there, said more than 80 per
      cent of Kirkland Lake's 8,600 residents support Bennett's proposal
      for a "contaminated soil thermo-treatment facility."

      "Get it straight - it's not an incinerator," said Enouy.

      Orris said he wasn't in town to discuss the pros and cons of the
      project.

      "These organic pollutants, which are toxic to humans, are already
      present in the environment. It's up to the people of Kirkland Lake to
      determine if adding a little bit more is going to make a difference."

      Ontario Hospital bars visit by PCBs expert
      Speech caught up in controversy over waste facility

      By Roberta Avery
      The Toronto Star
      Tuesday, October 1, 2002
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