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Canada Now Realizes That All Asbestos Is Dangerous

no asbestos sign illustration design over a white backgroundIn our latest blog, we highlighted the importance of having your property inspected for asbestos before doing any renovations. We noted that asbestos, all by itself, isn’t particularly dangerous. However, when it is disturbed and its fibres become airborne, asbestos becomes a major health hazard that could lead to death. It’s certainly no laughing matter. Lung cancer is just one of the many fatal respiratory issues that could arise from inhaling asbestos fibres.

So why would asbestos ever be used? Well, prior to the 1990s, it was seen as an affordable and reliable solution to insulation within homes. As well, there was a thought that some forms of asbestos were less harmful than others. However, as Lynn Dejardins reports for Radio Canada International, Canada has finally recognized that all types of asbestos are dangerous. She writes that a government website has now acknowledged the material’s penchant for causing cancer.

“Long after the World Health Organization, medical bodies and other industrialized countries declared asbestos to be a carcinogen, Canada has finally admitted on a government website that ‘breathing in asbestos fibres can cause cancer and other diseases,’” Desjardins reveals in an article from July of this year. Apparently, getting the nation to admit to this has been a long time coming.

Pat Martin is a member of Parliament. Desjardins writes that he has been campaigning for Canada to recognize asbestos for the disease-causing material that it is for quite some time. Martin has lost many friends to asbestos-related diseases and has fought long and hard to see it banned in Canada. Our nation, it seems, has been one to support the production and use of asbestos for far too long.

“Frankly, Canada’s policy on asbestos has been morally and ethically reprehensible,” he was quoted as saying, “Not only were we one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of asbestos, we were probably the world’s number one cheerleader in trying to promote Canadian asbestos.” Martin’s fight has helped for Health Canada’s website to finally change its view on the material.

“Health Canada’s website used to say that one from of asbestos—chrysotile was less potent and did less damage than did other kinds,” Desjardins informs us, “It also used to say the substance was dangerous if inhaled in ‘significant quantities.’ The WHO says all kinds of asbestos are carcinogenic and there is no safe level of exposure…These few changes on the government website may seem innocuous, but Martin thinks they are a significant change that could eventually lead to a ban.”

She reveals that, unfortunately, Canada has still not banned asbestos. Worse than that, the nation continues to import products, such as brake pads, that contain the product. According to Martin, the nation’s commercial interests are killing Canadians. “More Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial and occupational causes combined,” he says, “Yet for political reasons, and because of commercial interests we’ve been laggards on this file and I can only hope this is one step closer to doing the honourable thing and…banning it altogether.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know all too well just how dangerous asbestos is. It’s vitally important that you have it removed from your property if you plan on doing any renovations that may disturb the material. If it’s present in your property, you need to know about it. Our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services can certainly help with that.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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