N.B. health authorities join investigation into possible York Arena lead poisoning
New Brunswick health authorities are now involved in an investigation into whether lead-based paint at a Fredericton work site might have caused as many as 15 workers to fall ill.
A $3-million renovation project at Fredericton’s York Arena was halted in May, one month after it began, after high concentrations of lead were discovered on the building’s metal structure.
WorkSafe NB has been investigating the matter, and now the province’s Department of Health has joined in, seeking access to WorkSafe NB’s findings.
"We understand, based on media reports, that there might have been exposure of lead, so we're pursuing more information on that,” said Dr. Na-Koshie Lamptey, the Regional Medical Officer of Health.
Neither WorkSafe NB nor the Department of Health will confirm lead poisoning has occurred.
However, on Monday, an employee of one of the sub-contractors involved in the arena project told CTV News that blood tests have confirmed he is suffering from lead poisoning, and he believes more than a dozen others were sickened while working there as well.
On Tuesday, work resumed outside the York Arena.
Workers there wouldn’t say what they were doing or why, but no one was seen going inside.
Despite an order to have them removed, steel beams coated in lead paint were still scattered around the arena property on Tuesday.
Chris Mabie, who campaigned to ensure the York Arena was renovated instead of demolished, says he wants to know why precautions weren’t taken to avoid exposure to lead.
“Lead paint was used commercially until about 1980 and this arena was completely rebuilt in 1972, so I don't think it's a complete surprise that there would be some lead paint in there,” he said.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Andy Campbell