No elevated cancer risk in Lac-Megantic: Officials

The remains of a burnt train are seen in Lac Megantic, July 8, 2013. A driverless, runaway fuel...

The remains of a burnt train are seen in Lac Megantic, July 8, 2013. A driverless, runaway fuel train that exploded in a deadly ball of flames in the center of a small Quebec town started rumbling down an empty track just minutes after a fire crew had extinguished a blaze in one of its parked locomotives, an eyewitness said on Monday. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:10 PM ET

MONTREAL — Citizens of Lac-Megantic, Que., and first responders who were on scene at last year's deadly train explosion are concerned that the chemicals in the air may lead to a 9/11-esque rise in cancer rates in the town.

But health officials say there's nothing to panic about.

“What will it be like,” said bar owner Sophie L’Heureux, “in Lac-Megantic in a couple of years? For the first responders as well as the population that was breathing those clouds of blackened smoke?”

According to regional public health officials, precautions were taken to ensure the safety of both the residents and the first responders.

“In the aftermath of the accident, we began an epidemiological monitoring of the area,” Dr. Melissa Genereux, the public health director for the region of Estrie in Quebec, said.

Genereux told QMI Agency in an e-mail that thanks to the protection measures that were put in place, exposure to toxic substances was kept to a minimum.

 


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