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 email@example.com.
As we’ve covered extensively on our blog, Canada will be implementing a comprehensive nationwide ban on asbestos next year. Lobbyists all over the country have long petitioned for the toxic substance to be outlawed. For reasons that not many know, short of economic gain (read: greed at the expense of the nation’s health), asbestos continues to be imported into Canada in such products such as brake pads.
Prior to the 1990s, however, asbestos was a staple in the construction of homes and office building, primarily for its insulating abilities. Renovations of any such buildings threaten to send asbestos fibres airborne. These fibres are well known for getting trapped in the lungs of anyone who is exposed to them. Thus, deadly lung diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis have taken the lives of thousands of Canadians.
Yes, a ban is coming. But that doesn’t prevent the numerous buildings across Canada that are already asbestos-laden from threatening the health of those who enter them. Such is the case in northwest Edmonton where the New West Hotel is currently undergoing an investigation due to the mishandling of asbestos removal during recent renovations.
According to a recent CBC News report by Scott Stevenson, the hotel’s employees have reported the potential of asbestos exposure since no asbestos testing was done prior to the construction work. Stevenson notes that in spite of a stop-work order issued by Occupational Health and Safety, construction at the hotel continues. The hotel, in fact, has received two stop-work orders.
Stevenson reveals that Alberta Labour has confirmed that a stop-work order was issued to the hotel on July 5th. The order was lifted August 18th after tests confirmed the presence of asbestos, however, another stop-work order was issued on the 23rd because of ventilation issues. Clearly, there are unsafe working conditions at the New West Hotel – a business that has been operational since 1954.
Rebecca Grant, a 31 year-old mother of two, used to work there as a housekeeper. She spoke to CBC News and admitted that she became concerned for her health and quit her job, as a result. “They kept busting drywall after the stop-work order was in place,” she is quoted as saying, “It was my job to clean the rooms they had renovated.” Grant goes on to describe the hotel as “disorganized, unhealthy, and unsafe” during the renovation process.
She didn’t just quit her job on suspicion of asbestos exposure. She was beginning to feel the symptoms. An asthma sufferer, Grant felt her job was not worth the risk to her health. “It was making me sick,” she told CBC News, “I’d go into work and I’d have a really hard time breathing as soon as I hit the upstairs. I have asthma. So I decided I had to quit because of the work conditions. I mean, you could see the shiny, crystallized dust particles in the air.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly advocate for safe working environments for all Canadians. 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.
In last week’s blog, we revisited the topic of asbestos and pointed out that, in spite of Canada’s soon-to-be-enforced nationwide ban, the substance continues to wreak havoc on our health. We highlighted the fact that asbestos not only has long-lasting health implications but that exposure to the toxic material can come by way of a secondhand nature.
Many Canadians have endured respiratory complications because their family members have come home from work with asbestos fibres attached to their clothing. And, sadly, this still seems to be the case. Just yesterday, Jeremy Shepherd of North Shore News reported that asbestos-related work site violations are on the rise. According to WorkSafeBC, there have been more asbestos-related stop work orders and fines in the first eight months of 2017 than in all of 2016.
“More than 600 British Columbian workers died from asbestos-related disease in the past decade,” writes Shepherd, referring to comments made by WorkSafeBC vice-president Al Johnson, “In 2016, more than one-third of the 164 construction deaths in B.C. stemmed from asbestos-related illness. Asbestos is set to be banned in Canada in 2018 but workers still face exposure as escalating property values have triggered a rash in home demolitions.”
Shepherd reminds us that before 1990, many homes were built using asbestos-laden building materials. It was also commonly used as an insulation source. He also notes that asbestos was sprayed on many of the beams that supported buildings erected in the 1960s and ’70s. “The prevalence in asbestos resulted in many workers suffering scarring of the lungs as well as mesothelioma, a cancer that can develop as late as 40 years after asbestos exposure,” Shepherd informs.
Naturally, demolitions of homes constructed with asbestos leave workers highly susceptible to asbestos exposure. And this is happening with increased frequency in British Columbia. As a result, WorkSafeBC has been handing out fines at higher rates this year.
“WorkSafeBC levelled a $3,959 fine on Living Balance International Trading Ltd. in July during a North Vancouver demolition job,” reports Shepherd, “The penalty came after a report revealed asbestos-containing materials where labourers had already begun work. The firm also failed to inspect the site to identify hazardous materials before beginning demolition, according to WorkSafeBC.”
Johnson asserts that the fines are intended to encourage business owners to take the proper precautions before going ahead with home demolitions. Removing all asbestos from the building prior to its demolition is one such precaution that seems to be neglected by far too many companies and contractors. Johnson urges workers to report if they are being made to work in unsafe conditions.
“Not only is it a right, it’s a responsibility to refuse unsafe work,” Johnson is quoted as saying. Shepherd explains that British Columbia workers who see serious injuries, chemical releases or general unsafe conditions, should call WorkSafeBC at 604-276-3100. “Workers have the option to remain anonymous,” he affirms, “WorkSafeBC also provides safeguards to ensure whistleblowers aren’t treated unfairly.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we have made it pretty clear that we strongly support safeguards against asbestos exposure. For more information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In December of last year, the Government of Canada finally followed through on its promise to announce a comprehensive nationwide ban of asbestos. The deadly substance – known for its role in causing mesothelioma and other fatal respiratory diseases – is set for a complete abolishment from the country in 2018.
Of course, “abolishment” means the ceasing of any importing or exporting of the product. What we do about the asbestos that is currently in our country is another story altogether. Thankfully, there is some good news to report coming out of Gatineau, Quebec. Earlier this month, the federal government announced that it was lowering the acceptable level of workplace exposure to airborne chrysotile asbestos to as close to zero as possible.
As reported by Jeff Cottrill on OHSCanada.com, the move took effect on July 12th, and was announced via news release from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Patty Hajdu is the federal Minister of Employment at Workforce Development and Labour. In the release, she shares her sentiments about the nation’s responsibility to keep its workers as safe from harm as possible.
“Every employee has the right to a safe workplace,” declares Hajdu, “I’m proud to be announcing these long-overdue regulatory changes on asbestos, a key element of our government’s comprehensive ban.”
Kirsty Duncan is the Federal Science Minister. She too had some words to say about the federal government’s duty to keep Canadians free from harm in the workplace. “Canadians can be confident my colleagues and I will continue to work hard to ensure that families, workers and communities will be protected from the harmful impacts of asbestos exposure, so they may lead healthy, secure lives,” Duncan shared.
“The move is part of the federal government’s ongoing strategy to ban all asbestos and asbestos-containing products by next year,” writes Cottrill, “Canada’s occupational health and safety law regulations require exposure to airborne asbestos to follow the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists Threshold Limit Values at 0.1 fibres per cubic centimetre, according to a backgrounder on the ESDC website.”
Never one to be quiet about the subject of asbestos, Canadian Labour Congress president, Hassan Yussuff, was also vocal about Canada’s recent step towards better protection against asbestos exposure in the workplace. The CLC has long lobbied for the complete ban of asbestos in Canada. Yussuff agrees that the recent move towards lowering acceptable exposure levels at work is a step in the right direction.
“We welcome the action of the government,” said Yussuff. “There’s always going to be argument on what level of threshold is acceptable for workers to be exposed, and we believe no amount of asbestos fibres is safe. So lowering the threshold certainly brings us one step closer to the inevitable situation that the government already announced, a complete ban of both import and export of asbestos.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we applaud the actions being taken by the Canadian government to reduce the potential for asbestos to cause more illnesses and deaths in our country. Of course, we’re mindful that much work still needs to be done in order to keep all Canadians safe.
For more information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
The team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services would like to wish you an amazing Canada Day long weekend! As you’re well aware, this coming weekend isn’t going to be like any old Canada Day long weekend. It’s our nation’s 150th birthday! We’re happy to say that, as proud Canadians, we look forward to enjoying the various festivities that this forthcoming weekend will bring.
However, we’re also quite proud that Canada’s 150th birthday will mark the very last one when asbestos is legal in our country. Readers of our blog know how intensely we’ve focused on the comprehensive nationwide asbestos ban that passed by the federal government in December. Outlawing the toxic material completely by next year, Canada has taken an extremely important step in bettering the health of Canadians.
Formerly used primarily as an insulation material in the construction of homes and office buildings, asbestos is now widely known as a major cause of lung cancer. Taking the lives of 2,000 Canadians each year, asbestos is a substance that should have been banned a long time ago. It not only impacts the lungs of people performing renovations in buildings containing the substance, but it also affects members of the automobile industry.
Asbestos is often used in brake pads. And as the President of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, Larry Lantz writes in The Toronto Star, “when asbestos brake pads wear out or disintegrate, the asbestos escapes into the air. The risk to technicians is that cleaning brake assemblies and grinding brake linings can expose them to this potentially toxic asbestos dust.”
In his recent special to the paper, Lantz also explains that brake friction products, clutch plates, hood liners and other aftermarket parts have all been made from asbestos. As a result, workers in the auto industry are among the most at-risk Canadians when it comes to asbestos exposure. Lantz notes that according to Statistics Canada, “more than $6 million in asbestos-related items are imported into Canada each year, and asbestos brake linings and pads represented the lion’s share of these items.”
Asbestos is good absorbing heat, Lantz points out, addressing the reason the toxic substance is so heavily used in his industry. Because of this characteristic, upwards of $100 million worth of asbestos-laden automotive parts have been imported into Canada over the past ten years. Of course, all of that is going to stop in 2018.
Lantz does express concern, however, that an increase in automotive parts containing asbestos will be shipped to Canada before the ban is officially implemented. “Since Canada has taken so long to ban auto parts made with asbestos, I hope that our country doesn’t become a dumping ground for aftermarket asbestos parts,” he writes, “There are already concerns that asbestos products imported before the ban is in place could be sold legally.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we join Lantz and all other Canadians in applauding the nationwide asbestos ban. As far as we’re concerned, it couldn’t come soon enough. Happy 150th Canada! Here’s to a nation that enjoys better health!
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.
Readers of the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog are no strangers to posts about asbestos. We’ve both extensively covered the impact that the toxic substance has had on Canadians and heralded the federal government’s decision to ban the material completely by next year. Of course, the health hazards caused by asbestos continue to affect Canadians to the tune of 2,000 deaths per year.
It goes without saying that our nation still has a long way to go to reduce lung diseases as they continue to be costly for Canadians in more ways than one. Just yesterday, Wendy Henderson of Pulmonary Fibrosis News reported that lung cancer remains Canada’s leading cause of death from cancer for both genders.
Lung cancer, in fact, is taking more Canadian lives than prostate cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer combined. As you may have expected, it’s wreaking havoc on our economy as well. “According to the Canadian Lung Association, the three leading lung diseases — asthma, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and lung cancer — cost the Canadian economy a staggering $12 billion in 2010,” reports Henderson, “More than 6 percent of Canada’s welfare bill is taken up by chronic lung disease care.”
Henderson reveals that COPD produces more hospitalizations than any other illness and notes that many Canadians who likely suffer from the condition haven’t even been diagnosed yet. She calls for “drastic steps” to be taken by our nation in order to prevent chronic lung disease cases to double by the year 2030.
The nation’s asbestos ban can be considered a big step in the right direction. But, of course, there are many other causes of lung cancer. Cigarette smoke is one of the most obvious ones. The fact that people are still addicted to cigarettes, with all of the information about its deadly effects, is staggering. Henderson admits that measures have been put in place to reduce smoking and secondhand smoke in our country, but more still needs to be done.
André Picard of The Globe and Mail believes that if a threat to one’s life isn’t enough to get a person to quit smoking, he/she should be hit in the other place “where it hurts” – the pocket. “The single most effective way to reduce smoking – along with the millions of deaths it causes – is to dramatically increase the price of cigarettes,” he writes, citing a study that calls for the tripling of tobacco taxes and a doubling of the prices for cigarette packs.
Dr. Prabhat Jah is the director of the Centre for Global Health Research at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and one of the researchers of the study which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “If the world is serious about knocking down consumption by one-third, the only way to get there is significant increases in taxes,” he is quoted as saying in an interview, “With higher taxes, you will see health benefits in both the short-term and the long-term.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are certainly on board with any measure that will work to improve the health of Canadians nationwide. And, as such, we remain committed to doing our part. For more information about any and all of our services including our Air Quality Services and Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
With Canada just one month away from celebrating its 150th anniversary, there are many Canadians taking a look back at the past 150 years to truly appreciate how far we have come as a nation. Of course, a lot has happened in the past century and a half. And due to the vast amounts of research that have been conducted, our society has learned so much about what we can do to live better – stronger and longer.
Of special note to the team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., is the fact that asbestos has had its reputation completely dismantled. And with good reason, of course. Peter Kenter is one of those Canadians taking a look at our nation’s 150 years. On JournalOfCommerce.com, he points out that at the end of the 19th century, “asbestos had all the makings of a miracle construction material…By the beginning of the 21st century, its reputation had fallen to that of a carcinogen and toxic substance.”
Readers of our blog are well aware of how concerned we’ve been about asbestos and the impact it has had on the health of Canadians. It can never be repeated enough times – 2,000 Canadians die every year due to asbestos-related diseases. We’re happy to know that, as we embark on celebrating Canada’s 150th, asbestos is on its way out of our country for good. The federal government finally called for a comprehensive ban of the toxic substance to take full effect next year.
The problem, of course, is that asbestos has wreaked irreparable harm that won’t soon be alleviated. As Kenter reveals, “Cancer research group CAREX Canada estimates that approximately 152,000 Canadians are exposed to asbestos in the workplace…Asbestos exposure, primarily the inhalation of fibres, can cause: asbestosis and pleural thickening, diseases related to the scarring of lung tissue; lung cancer; and mesothelioma, a cancer of the tissues lining internal organs.”
The scary implications of asbestos exposure just go to show you how important medical research has been over the past 150 years. As mentioned, asbestos was once heralded as a hero in the world of building construction due, in part, to its ability to withstand extremely high temperatures. It was thought that its use as an insulator would be effective in preventing fires. So says Dr. Jessica van Horssen who is a leading researcher of the history and impact of asbestos in Canada.
During the First World War, “electricity was a very dangerous new technology that often resulted in great fires sweeping major urban centres,” she explains in Kenter’s article, “Asbestos can withstand heat of up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The mineral was suddenly an essential inclusion in home insulation, electrical wire coverings and materials used to prevent buildings from burning down.”
Kenter goes on to remind us about how much asbestos was thought to have “hero” qualities. It was used in such construction products as pipe coverings, wire coverings, fireproof boards, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roofing shingles, cement, asphalt, paint and plaster. And while asbestos may have been quite useful, today it is known primarily for being a culprit for deadly diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.
We, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., would like to offer you a hearty Happy Canada Day – one month in advance! On July 1st, we will not only be celebrating our nation’s 150th, but also the last year when asbestos will be legal in our country. Now that’s worth celebrating!
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.
When it was announced, this past December, that Canada would finally be implementing a nationwide comprehensive ban on asbestos, it was met with much praise. Considered way past due, the decision to ban the hazardous material from being imported into Canada is one that will inevitably save thousands of lives. However, the ban, which is set to fully commence by the end of 2018, is one that isn’t being implemented soon enough.
On TireBusiness.com, Rob Bostelaar of Automotive News Canada reports that some people simply can’t understand why Canada isn’t insisting upon an immediate ban. Most specifically, Jim Brophy, a University of Windsor adjunct professor and former director of the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, is voicing his displeasure over the fact that the ban hasn’t already taken effect.
Sensibly, Brophy notes that the many Canadians who will endure exposure to asbestos, between now and the end of next year, are at risk of developing serious illnesses in the years to come. Mechanics, for example, must still endure the potential of asbestos exposure from imported replacement brake pads and shoes which have been used as cheaper alternatives to synthetic fibres.
“The latency here is enormous,” Brophy is quoted as saying, “Every day we allow these products to come into the country just extends the time frame in which this disease will arrive and be experienced by people in our population.” Bostelaar points out that asbestos doesn’t just appear in automotive materials. Citing a Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) report, he notes that building products, paper and even footwear contain the substance in small amounts.
Nevertheless, workers in the automotive industry appear to be at the highest risk of health issues due to asbestos exposure. “The lion’s share — nearly 75 per cent of the $8.3 million in asbestos imports in 2015, the CLC reports — is friction materials,” reveals Bostelaar, “The Automotive Industries Association (AIA), which represents aftermarket suppliers, was among those pressing for a grace period to allow the removal of existing products from vehicles and store shelves.”
But is the grace period really necessary? Bostelaar writes that suppliers of friction products such as Rayloc have stopped using asbestos over a decade ago and retailers such as Canadian Tire aren’t currently selling any asbestos-containing products. Without an immediate ban, fears Brophy, mechanics won’t know for sure if they’re being exposed to asbestos or not.
“Most garages do not have even close to the kind of protections that government regulations would say would be needed,” he insists, noting that the dangers are even higher for home mechanics who likely lack training on how to deal with asbestos, “And that’s why the only real way to effectively deal with this is to enact the ban and make sure that these products are not sold on the Canadian market.”
Sadly, asbestos is the leading cause of work-related deaths in Canada, taking 2,000 lives every year. Diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma are killers proven to be caused by asbestos exposure. “The full extent of the harm that has been caused is so under-reported and so under-recognized, that even when you say that it’s the leading cause of occupational disease and death in this country, you’re actually underestimating the full extent of it,” Brophy states.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we fully support the nationwide ban on asbestos and agree that it can’t come a moment too soon. And, as always, we are committed to helping Canadians avoid the harmful effects of asbestos exposure. For more information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
As 2017 began, Canadians were given an extra special reason to celebrate the new year. As we’ve covered extensively on the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog, the Canadian government finally announced their comprehensive ban of asbestos. The deadly material is expected to be completely outlawed by 2018. This, of course, came as welcome news considering that the substance is the main culprit for more than 2,000 deaths in Canada each and every year.
Last week, the news got even better. As reported on Newswire.com, the federal government will be supporting the listing of chrysotile asbestos among the hazardous substances regulated under the Rotterdam Convention. The objective of the Rotterdam Convention is to protect both human health and the environment through the promotion of informed decisions about the import and management of certain hazardous chemicals.
Asbestos has been regarded a human carcinogen for 30 years now – declared as such by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 1987. Canada will be advocating for the chrysotile asbestos listing during this week’s eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Geneva. Also known as white asbestos, it’s the most common form of the material. The news of Canada’s new position on the substance is being lauded as an excellent step towards better protecting the lives of all Canadians.
This news is especially significant considering the fact that Canada formerly denounced the dangers of asbestos – and did so for many years. As a Marketwired.com report explains, “the World Health Organization declared asbestos a human carcinogen in 1987. However, for many years, Canada continued to bolster asbestos exports by downplaying the dangers of the carcinogen internationally.”
Needless to say, the fact that the federal government has changed its position is music to the ears of health advocates such as Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff.
“Unions campaigned long and hard for a ban on asbestos to make workplaces and public spaces safer for all Canadians, but also people around the world who were being exposed to asbestos,” he is quoted as saying in the Marketwired.com piece, “We worked with the government last year to secure a comprehensive ban on the import and export of asbestos here in Canada, and we are encouraged to see Canada taking international leadership on this issue.”
The announcement of Canada’s new position on chrysotile was made by Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna. “By supporting the listing of chrysotile asbestos to the Rotterdam Convention, Canada is taking a concrete step to promote responsible management of this harmful substance globally,” she is quoted in the Newswire.ca article, “In Canada, we will also put in place regulatory measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians as we move forward toward a ban on asbestos.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we have long supported the nationwide ban on asbestos. We fully agree that extra measures are needed to protect people from asbestos exposure all over Canada. And, as always, we are committed to doing our part!