We’re now less than three months away from the beginning of 2018. And while time is known to fly, the new year can’t come soon enough for thousands of families all across Canada. Sadly, so many of them have been gravely affected by the hazardous substance known as asbestos. Taking far too many lives each year and earning top spot as the number one cause of workplace deaths in Canada, asbestos will finally be banned nationwide next year.
While the announcement of the comprehensive ban last December was met with widespread approval, many rightfully believe that it came far too late. As Tavia Grant points out in her recent article in The Globe and Mail, asbestos leads all carcinogens as the top cancer-causing agent in workplaces within the province of Ontario. She cites a paper released by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre and Cancer Care Ontario last week as evidence.
The study, notes Grant, is the first to estimate the number of cancer cases from workplace exposure in Ontario. It is part of a four-year national project. Paul Demers is the OCRC director. “I can’t count the number of times that I have talked about how important it is to prevent exposure to carcinogens, but raising awareness doesn’t always lead to action,” he is quoted as saying, “I think the numbers are important to make this real and push action towards preventing exposure to these causes of cancer.”
The OCRC paper exposes the fact that Ontario workers spend approximately a third of their waking hours in their workplaces. Nevertheless, very little has been done by way of researching the impact of the cancer-causing agents that are present in their places of work. The recent OCRC study identifies four key carcinogens: asbestos, diesel-engine exhaust, silica and solar ultraviolet radiation (outdoor sun exposure).
Asbestos is clearly highlighted as the worst of them all. Grant notes that it “causes an estimated 15 laryngeal cancers in Ontario each year, as well as some ovarian cancers. By industry, most workplace exposure to asbestos is in construction, largely through maintenance and renovations of homes and buildings, as well as in manufacturing.”
She goes on to highlight the fact that even though the forthcoming ban of asbestos seeks to eliminate its use in Canada, there are still a number of asbestos-laden products that are being used throughout the country.
Insulation and tiles have been widely used in the construction of homes and public buildings such as schools and universities, Grant reminds us. It can easily be concluded that by eliminating asbestos use in any and all products all throughout Canada, the risk of people contracting deadly lung cancers will significantly be reduced.
As Grant reports, “the study recommended strengthening rules on workplace exposure limits, reducing or eliminating the use of toxic substances on the job, and creating registries of worker exposures to occupational carcinogens.”
It should come as no surprise that the team at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is practically counting down the days until Canada’s nationwide asbestos ban takes full effect. For more information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.