PAGC Not Worried About Vermiculite

Friday, December 10, 2004 at 14:52



Officials with the Prince Albert Grand Council say they don’t believe the insulation material known as vermiculite poses a health risk to band members within its region.


Back on April 3rd, Health Canada issued a warning to the public not to handle vermiculite.


It had been linked to the construction of a house near Lake Winnipeg, where two members of the Poplar River First Nation died of asbestos-related cancer.


One of the victim’s family members says she believes the reasons why her two sisters died was because of the vermiculite insulation.


Soon afterwards, Indian Affairs launched an investigation into the number of buildings on Canadian reserves that were constructed with vermiculite and discovered the number to be approximately 600.


More than 200 of those dwellings were found to be here in Saskatchewan.


A building inspector for the PAGC says he is aware of the problem, but feels it isn’t a concern with the homes he sees.


He says his department examines each residential home within the PAGC every three years and, so far, hasn’t discovered any vermiculite that is loose.


Meanwhile, officials from Health Canada and Indian Affairs say any First Nations in the Morth wanting an on-site inspection of their housing should contact either the PAGC or the Meadow Lake Tribal Council.


Documents from Health Canada state vermiculite is considered safe if it remains sealed behind wallboards and floorboards, but could potentially cause health risks if disturbed through renovation or demolition.