A dozen workers in Granby, Que., hospitalized after exposure at recycling plant

The director of firefighting services in Granby, Que., says some people were transported to hospital after being exposed to the substance. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press - image credit)
The director of firefighting services in Granby, Que., says some people were transported to hospital after being exposed to the substance. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press - image credit)

A dozen workers at a Granby, Que., recycling facility have been transported to hospital after breathing in an unknown substance.

Twelve out of 40 workers were affected by the exposure at the Sani-Eco facility owned by Enviro Connexions, which resumed operations Monday afternoon.

In an emailed statement, the company says the fire department confirmed it was not a gas leak but has not ruled out the possibility that "the situation is linked to a product from a recycling bin."

It says no hazardous contaminants have been identified in the facility.

The company said the condition of the employees who were taken to hospital is improving after experiencing headaches, breathing difficulties and tingling sensations in their throats. They remained under observation on Monday but were expected to be released by the end of day.

Simon Boutin, director of the firefighting services in the community southeast of Montreal, said the department received a call at 8:23 a.m. for someone who was having difficulty breathing.

Boutin said the substance was not carbon dioxide and that firefighters are still on the scene.

"We are in the process of researching to find the cause of the poisoning or the discomfort that was created by some substance that was in the ambient air of the building," said Boutin.

The building was evacuated and police set up a perimeter. Enviro Connexions manages waste and recycling for residential and commercial customers.

Two officials with Quebec's workplace health and safety board (CNESST) were on the scene looking into the incident.