what’s Newpro doing now?

What’s Newpro up to now?


From 15 June, 2016 at 10:22PM

What’s in the plume? Well according to their 2013 NPRI report, methanol, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter of various sizes (37 tonnes) beta-pinene, formaldehyde (16 tonnes) and alpha pinene. The finished product comes with its own
material safety data sheet

Let’s see what the wikipedia has to say about this stuff, eh?
Methanol is poisonous to the central nervous system and may cause blindness, coma, and death.
For the public, chronic exposure to NO2
can cause respiratory effects including airway inflammation in healthy people and increased respiratory symptoms in people with asthma.
Within short time scales, carbon monoxide absorption is cumulative, since the half-life is about 5 hours in fresh air. Carbon monoxide is a toxic (poisonous) gas, but, being colorless, odorless, tasteless, and initially non-irritating, it is very difficult for people to detect.
The effects of inhaling particulate matter that have been widely studied in humans and animals include asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, premature delivery, birth defects, and premature death.
In 2011, the US National Toxicology Program described formaldehyde as “known to be a human carcinogen”.

Aaaand the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer says, “There is sufficient evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of wood dust… especially during machine sanding and similar operations.”

note respirator and protective suit

cool or what?

How did this happen?

For many years (33 from the permit data) Northern Engineered Wood Products (NEWPRO) operated from a site just upwind from the main population centre of Smithers, BC. The air contaminants were routinely trapped by inversions to raise concentrations of  various nasty gases and particles in an already polluted town. See page 8 of the BC Lung State of the Air report for Smithers’ provincial ranking during NEWPRO’s last year of panelboard production. The Province authorized emissions under their permit 6099.

NEWPRO was required to report annually to Environment Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory, the NPRI. The annual NPRI figures are required and are required to be accurate – but are they? This report seems to cast doubt on this – see page 34.

Air emissions permits issued by the Province typically start off in this way  –

Under the Provisions of the Environmental Management Act
Northern Engineered Wood Products (2007) Inc.
Box 2890
Smithers, British Columbia
V0J 2N0

is authorized to discharge air contaminants to the air …

and an air contaminant is …

“… a substance that is introduced into the air and that

(a) injures or is capable of injuring the health or safety of a person,

(b) injures or is capable of injuring property or any life form,

(c) interferes with or is capable of interfering with visibility,

(d) interferes with or is capable of interfering with the normal conduct of business,

(e) causes or is capable of causing material physical discomfort to a person, or

(f) damages or is capable of damaging the environment”

So is particulate matter capable of causing harm?  In Canada this is conclusively established by Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the list of legally toxic substances, where we find, in the list number

51. Respirable particulate matter less than or equal to 10 microns

So there isn’t any doubt about it – an air emissions permit authorizes harm to people who breath the pollution. How can this come about??

Regulatory capture is sometimes said to be at work in this context. The BC Auditor General seems to agree – here

Perhaps the following image will lay out part of the answer.


just buddies…