A press conference will be held on Tuesday, June 2, at 10 a.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in a realistic mock clandestine drug lab, which is part of the American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Expo (AIHce), June 1–3, 2009.

Among the speakers at the press conference will be Ontario Fire Marshal Pat Burke. According to Burke, clandestine labs are becoming increasingly common and the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) in Ontario is called to a structure fire involving an illegal lab about every 15 days.

The drug lab replica will dramatically illustrate and address the hazards to first responders and the public. The mock labs will include marijuana grow and oil extraction operations and other types of synthesis labs, such as methamphetamine, ecstasy, and Rohypnol. Also on display will be the Municipal Health and Safety Association’s Marijuana Grow Operation and Clandestine Drug Lab Trailer, a fully operational, walk-through exhibit of both a marijuana grow operation and a realistic meth lab.

As part of the display, videos, photographs, and other health and safety information relevant to emergency personnel who respond to fires or raids at meth labs and marijuana grow houses will also be included. Industrial hygienists and members of the OFM who are experts on these illegal drug production facilities will conduct short tours and offer advice on taking precautions when entering and working these crime scenes. In addition, industrial hygienists will explain how the defensive systems (booby traps and fortification) weapons, chemicals, hazardous waste, and dangerous criminals that are often present at these clandestine labs pose an extreme risk to authorities and the public.

Experts on this and many other occupational health and safety issues are available for exclusive interviews before and during AIHce. Other topics of interest include:
  • Is the Toronto business community ready for a pandemic/evaluation of WHO and CDC response to H1N1 – Toronto health expert compares H1N1 response with SARS response
  • Risks to first responders and the public from clandestine drug labs (realistic mock drug labs will be on display)
  • Impact of the recession and “lean manufacturing ” on worker health and safety
  • Impact of biosecurity and bioterrorism on workers
  • Advancing corporate sustainability and responsibility
  • Disproportionate fatalities among Hispanic workers
  • Keeping teens safe in the workplace at their summer jobs
  • Super bugs and emerging resistance
  • Potential health risks of nanotechnology and nanoparticles