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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.

Among those health hazards are asbestosis and mesothelioma – two fatal lung diseases.

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.”

Lung diseases are sending Canadians to the hospital in record numbers.

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 info@dftechnical.ca.

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