Is construction on the Turcot Interchange making Saint-Henri residents sick?

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Turcot Interchange health concerns
WATCH ABOVE: Saint-Henri residents say their health has suffered due to construction on the Turcot Interchange. Global's Kelly Greig reports – Jul 29, 2016

Saint-Henri residents say they’ve seen their health decline with the construction of the Turcot Interchange.

“I have a dry nose and bleeding,” said Bagel St-Henri owner Mario Andrews.

“When you blow your nose, it’s grey.”

READ MORE: Saint-Henri residents losing sleep, forced to move because of Turcot Interchange construction

The City of Montreal and Transports Quebec said they monitor air quality at the construction site.

“I’ve never had asthma in my life and I’m coughing and wheezing,” said Good Neighbours Committee head Derek Robertson.

“This morning I had a coughing attack as I got into the shower. I think that’s not just myself – that’s everyone.”

Yves Lavoie lives on Saint-Jacques Street and was diagnosed with asthma two weeks ago.

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His doctor wasn’t surprised when he said he lives in Saint-Henri.

“I told her I live near the Turcot so she said ‘ah, no wonder you might have some issues with coughing,'” he told Global News.

Scott Weichenthal, an assistant professor with McGill University‘s Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, explains there are two basic types of particles.

“Larger particles would tend to hit the upper airways: nose and throat,” he said.

“Fine particles are more associated with serious health effects related to your heart and lungs.”

READ MORE: Turcot construction causes parking nightmares on Addington

Essentially, small particles come from truck emissions while larger particles, like dust and dirt, generally come from digging or demolition work.

The latest air quality report shows data from January to April.

“It looks like the city’s having a larger impact on these larger particles,” Weichenthal told Global News, after reviewing the report.

Part of the explanation for the increase in dust could be an increase in road works.

More dust flies in the air due to dryer, hotter weather.

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Transports Quebec insists it does try to reduce the impact by watering down the streets.

READ MORE: ‘It has a huge impact’: Residents living near the Turcot interchange prepare for the future

“Around construction sites, you will have measures to try and mitigate but they’re not perfect,” said medical officer Stéphane Perron, with Montreal’s Public Health Department.

He said residents can install air conditioning to help filter the air, but those without A/C don’t have many good options.

“If it’s not too hot, close the windows,” he said.

“If it’s hot, keep the windows open to have the air passing through because you don’t want to have the health effects of the heat.”

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