Canada recognizes that asbestos is a killer. And not just any killer, mind you – it has been statistically proven that asbestos is Canada’s number one workplace killer and a known cause of mesothelioma. It takes the lives of over 2,000 Canadians each and every year. So, as a result, the nation has rightfully banned its production. But, we continue to import it at alarmingly growing rates. How does that make any sense?
As Doug Schimdt reports in the Windsor Star this past Monday, “asbestos imports nearly doubled in value between 2011 and 2015, to $8.2 million last year. Meanwhile, the numbers and cases of deaths attributed to mesothelioma — an aggressive form of cancer caused primarily by workplace asbestos exposure — has been on the rise, according to figures released this year by Statistics Canada.”
Evidently, the mining ban that was put in place five years ago has not been enough to reduce the health hazards that asbestos brings upon our population. Banning the production of asbestos in Canada, but continuing to import it, is no different than instilling a household rule that no family member is allowed to smoke – but guests are allowed to whenever they come over. How does that improve anyone’s health?
Well, the answer is simple: it doesn’t. And as Jo-Anne MacMillan pointed out at a news conference in Windsor, Ontario on Monday, it makes no sense to import a “horrific material” that is guilty of killing people. As Schmidt explains, MacMillan has lost three family members to asbestos-caused mesothelioma, including her brother Tom Dunn, who was only 35 years-old when he passed away in 1981.
Sadly, her other brother Paul and sister Rose-Marie, would suffer the same fates in 2005. They were 58 and 70 years of age respectfully. In May of this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made what appeared to be a promise to ban asbestos from Canada completely. We have been covering this incredibly important topic in many of our blogs ever since. Still, we await word on this comprehensive nationwide ban.
If you’re wondering why Canada would even think of importing such a deadly substance, Windsor & District Labour Council president, Brian Hogan can shed some light on the reason. “It’s cheaper,” he states simply in Schmidt’s article, noting that there are safer alternative products that are made in Canada. The asbestos-laden products that are still imported include brake pads, pipes, pipe fittings, tiles, paper products and even clothing and footwear.
Dr. Deborah Hellyer, who is a Windsor-based occupational health physician and lung disease specialist, remarks that asbestos is such a potent killer because of its presence in so many of Canada’s workplaces. Used in the construction of hospitals, libraries, factories and schools, workers in such places have been regularly coming into contact with asbestos for years. “Especially when disturbed — for example when it’s removed or cut — even minute amounts, once inhaled, can lead to potentially fatal disease years or even decades later,” she tells Schmidt.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we completely agree that asbestos should be completely banned in Canada. And because the hazardous material causes deadly diseases, we believe in testing for asbestos in homes and workplaces. Contact us to learn more about our Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services which include several asbestos testing procedures. To learn more, give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.