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Asbestos-Related Diseases Are Proving Very Costly For Canadians

The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog has covered the topic of asbestos quite extensively. We feel it safe to say that we speak for all Canadians when we declare our approval for the nationwide ban on the toxic substance that is set to take effect in the coming year. However, we also feel that it’s safe to say that we speak for all Canadians when we express our sadness and concern about the way that asbestos-related diseases have impacted the lives of so many Canadians.

As Tim Povtak reports on Asbestos.com today, asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma are both costing Canadians their lives and costing the nation billions of dollars. “The annual cost of asbestos-related occupational disease in Canada is estimated at $2.35 billion,” he informs, citing new findings by a panel of epidemiologists, public health experts and medical professionals that were published by Occupational and Environmental Medicine last month.

The report documents no less than 427 cases of mesothelioma, pointing out that the deadly disease is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Povtak reveals that the findings highlight the fact that many mesothelioma patients are exposed to asbestos via “secondary” or “secondhand” exposure. In other words, they inhaled fibres that came home on the clothes of family members who worked in direct contact with asbestos.

Evidently, asbestos is so hazardous to our health, you don’t even have to receive direct exposure from the source in order to be significantly impacted. This has lead to an estimated $831 million in direct and indirect costs for cases first identified in 2011, says Povtak. Direct costs include traditional health care, drug costs, out-of-pocket patient expenses, caregiver costs and home health care expenses. Indirect costs involve output and productivity losses caused by mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Clearly, the comprehensive nationwide ban on asbestos can’t come soon enough. Even though the last asbestos mine in Canada closed in 2011, the product continued to be imported for the construction and automotive industries. More than 50 other countries have already banned the toxic substance. The United States, interestingly, is not one of them. “The U.S. continues to import small amounts of asbestos, which is tightly regulated,” reveals Povtak.

Obviously, Canada’s forthcoming nationwide asbestos ban won’t have an immediate impact. Not only do many Canadians need to continue fighting the diseases already caused by asbestos, but the nation will continue to endure the economic burden of battling the illnesses. “The lengthy latency period (20-50 years) between asbestos exposure and a diagnosis of mesothelioma is a continued cause for concern,” Povtak writes.

Dr. Emile Tompa works at the Institute for Work and Health in Ontario. He is well aware that asbestos-related diseases will continue to afflict Canadians for some time. “The number of new cases annually is still rising,” he is quoted as saying in Povtak’s report, “This isn’t going away on its own. Awareness to these issues is growing. Hopefully, these studies help with the decision-making process. Efforts now are out there to mitigate these problems in the future.”

As you’re likely aware, DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. continues to be dedicated to doing its part to help. For more information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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