Monday, November 28, 2011

Canada’s ongoing affair with asbestos

Asbestos tarnishing Canada’s international reputation

The medical community agrees that asbestos
can scar the lungs and cause illness.
It seems to be a question of profits vs. conscience.

At this point, everyone has to admit that asbestos is a dangerous product.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), more than 100,000 people die every year from lung cancer and other respiratory diseases due to asbestos exposure.

The numbers will continue to grow because 125 million people are exposed to asbestos in their workplaces today and every day.

While Canada has banned asbestos from being used, it still happily exports it to other countries where the health standards still have to catch up.

Canada’s province of Quebec was operating two asbestos mines, but a recent CBC article says both have halted production for the first time in the industry's history (see link below).

The industry has changed a lot over the years. Once touted as a miraculous substance that could not be burned or damaged by fire, asbestos soon appeared everywhere – in homes, at workplaces, in cars, in industrial and household products. It seemed to be the perfect material - until the first illnesses became apparent.

It takes up to 40 years after exposure to asbestos fibers to affect people’s health, but the tiny fibers can scar people’s lungs and lead to asbestosis, mesothelioma and other cancers.

For an in-depth look at the history and current state of the asbestos industry in Canada, read the Globe and Mail article.
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Asbestos and indoor air quality

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