Quebec allows copper smelter in Rouyn-Noranda to emit arsenic levels five times norm

The factory in Rouyn-Noranda, Que., which has been in operation since 1927 and employs around 650 people, has been a cause for serious concern in the region after studies have shown that residents of the city have higher rates of lung cancer than the provincial average.

Owned by Switzerland-based Glencore, the smelter is currently allowed to emit 100 nanograms of arsenic per cubic metre of air -- 33 times the provincewide standard.