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Asbestos is generally thought of as something similar to lead paint – used in Canadian homes decades ago, but now commony known as a toxic and dangerous substance no longer used, reminiscent of a dead industry from years passed.
Think again. Canada is actually among the world’s leading asbestos exporters, shipping out over $100 million worth per year. Many developing nations like Vietnam, India and Indonesia are lining up to buy the deadly mineral for use in the construction of homes and buildings. In the not-so-coincidentally named town of Asbestos, Quebec, resides the world’s largest chrysotile mine. Many countries are waiting to buy the over 200 million tonnes of chrysotile that will become available in a planned expansion of the mine to tap extremely large reserves nearby.
Chrysotile is a form of asbestos that the Canadian government maintains is safer than other forms of asbestos when used properly. Ironically, while organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Medical Association are urging the government to stop the mining and export, the Parliament buildings themselves – where the very government that endorses the use of chrysotile resides – are undergoing a multimillion dollar asbestos-removal renovation.
Rightfully so, as the World Health Organization says that no matter what the variety, it is a carcinogen that kills over 90,000 people annually worldwide. The inhalation of asbestos fibres causes mesothelioma, a particularly aggressive form of lung cancer that kills patients typically within two years of diagnosis and can appear decades after the initial exposure. For very obvious reasons, Canada is alone in not supporting worldwide bans of asbestos use, directly defying the urging and advice of numerous health and labour advocates and organizations. The export of asbestos materials to developing countries that may not have the same awareness level about its dangers as we do should be considered unconscionable.
EnvironmentalServicesGroup.ca ~ Providing Asbestos Surveys in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Southwest and Central Ontario. Contact us today in Toronto at (416) 575-6111; Mississauga (905) 905-824-5733; Southwest Ontario (London, Sarnia, Windsor) (519) 434-0796; Barrie (705) 719-0746 or Toll Free 1-866-310-4219.