QUEBEC CITY, Jan. 30 (UPI) — An industrial solvent used at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier decades ago did not sicken people living in nearby Shannon, Quebec, federal officials say.
The solvent trichloroethylene was used on the base in the 1950s but did not taint the area’s water supply, the federal government said Friday in responding to a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of about 600 Shannon residents.
The lawsuit seeks more than $200 million in damages for health problems the residents allege were caused by the solvent.
While the government denied responsibility for the health problems, it did acknowledge a link between the solvent and some forms of cancer, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday. Shannon residents, however, were not exposed to high enough concentrations of the solvent for a long enough period to become ill, the government’s 70-page defense filing said.
A lawyer for the residents, Stephen Clarke, said the government’s response would prove useful for his side.
“The fact that the government of Canada, after seven years, is admitting that there are cancers connected to (the solvent) is amazing to us,” Clarke said.
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