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Asbestos: the silent killer

Mesothelioma, the cancer linked to asbestos exposure, is still killing Canadians even though it has been decades since asbestos was commonly used in construction.

Mesothelioma is difficult to treat; especially since it can take up to 40 years for the cancer to develop.  Most people who are diagnosed will only live up to two years, and over 80 per cent of these cases are linked to asbestos exposure.

Often considered a problem of the past, the asbestos industry is alive and well.  In fact, Canada has a $100 million asbestos industry that exports a variety of asbestos called chrysotile – mined in Quebec – to developing nations.

The Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois still promote the use of this substance, saying it’s not as dangerous as regular asbestos and the industry employs hundreds of people.

Despite this, the World Health Organization maintains that regardless of the type, asbestos kills over 90,000 people each year and the Liberals have stated Canada should stop the exportation of it. For some perspective, chrysotile is primarily responsible for the lung ailments of those physically impacted by the collapse of the towers on September 11.

Mostly miners and construction workers suffer from the cancer, and asbestos-related complications are the biggest occupational health hazard in Quebec. While the number of annual asbestos work-related deaths is just over half of the total, many cases are not reported to workplace compensation boards because those with a few months to live typically have other things than compensation on their mind.

The sanding, cutting, scraping and otherwise disturbing of asbestos materials is what increases the dangers of being around it. Many people still reside in homes, attend schools or work in buildings where asbestos was used in the construction. The less probability it has of going airborne, the more reduced the hazard. ~ 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.

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