Saturday, December 8, 2018


I believe it is the third in the series about rubber workers that is in today's Waterloo Region Record. To say that the series by Record reporter Greg Mercer is an expose of our corrupt Workers Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) is an understatement. To say that it is an indictment of former Conservative Cabinet Minister Liz Witmer is an understatement. When Liz Witmer was allegedly representing Waterloo Region and area in the legislature she did less than nothing to help us here in Elmira during and after the Elmira Water Crisis which is still going on. The only reason it's no longer considered a "crisis" is due to slick crisis management and public relations efforts by Uniroyal and successors as well as by local, regional and provincial governments over the last three decades.

The other elephant in the room among many regarding the coverup and minimizing of health and environmental damage here in Elmira is the health of Uniroyal workers over the decades. Many of the chemical exposures here at the Uniroyal plant are common solvents such as benzene and toluene which rubber workers were exposed to in the Kitchener rubber plants. In fact there would have likely been far more and different airborne chemical exposures here in Elmira than in Kitchener tire plants.

I recall Esther Thur compiling a list of Uniroyal employees who had died prematurely over the decades. That list may be with her records at the Wilfred Laurier University Archives unless it has been expunged. I also recall her telling me incidents of employees, including her husband, at the neighbouring Elmira Furniture Co. later Roxton, becoming sick from fumes leaving Uniroyal and entering their building on Union St. through open windows in the summer months. I also recall during the height of the air fumigations in Elmira between 1998 and 2001, CPAC being advised by Murray Haight that Uniroyal/Crompton employees were leaving windows open at the plant in order for them to get fresh air while they were working. This of course while helping the most immediately exposed inside the factory did little to alleviate the odours and exposures for the rest of Elmira.

All in all the health of employees of this company has never been made public. Based upon the litany of highly toxic compounds that this company has handled and mishandled over the decades including NDMA, Diacetyl, Benzene, Parathion, dioxins, Endrin, Silvex, DDT and so many more it is difficult to believe that Uniroyal now Lanxess employees and their families haven't paid a very high price.


  1. Quit and get another job if there is one out there. But I also believe someone named Alan Marshall continued to work at Varnicolor all the while complaining. Hmmm must have been the pay check to stay right?

  2. Wow that is some kind of an insensitive remark ("Quit and get another job if there is one out there.") for families who have lost loved ones due to toxic fumes in the rubber industry. First of all employees were either not informed at the time or intentionally misled by their employers as to the risk to their health and lives. Secondly the comment about Varnicolor Chemical is bizarre. I kept records of their pollution and health & safety violations to try and stop them and I succeeded. Interesting that the anonymous ("guess") commenter is a retired government worker from Guelph with zero factory work experience.