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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Canadian Asbestos Hypocrisy

Despite the fact that asbestos is a know cancer producing agent, Quebec liberals have won their battle to continue asbestos mining. In 2008 asbestos amounted to a $100 Million dollars business in Canada. Canada exports the majority of its asbestos to developing counties which amounts to 175,000 tons per year. 

Over 100 scientists from 28 nations had written a letter in support of a ban on asbestos production in Canada.  “We appeal to you to respect the overwhelmingly consistent body of scientific evidence and the considered judgment of the World Health Organization (WHO) that all forms of asbestos have been shown to be deadly and that safe use of any form of asbestos has proven impossible anywhere in the world,” the letter began. “Under Canadian law, chrysotile asbestos is classified as a hazardous substance, but the Quebec government has successfully lobbied to prevent it being recognized as such under international environmental law, thus creating a double standard of protection as if some lives were less deserving of protection than others.”

The Canadian Journal of Medicine had also endorsed a ban on Canadian asbestos production. "Canada's government must put an end to this death-dealing charade. Canada must immediately drop its opposition to placing chrysotile under the Rotterdam Convention's notification and consent processes and stop funding the Chrysotile Institute. More importantly, Canada should do its part in alleviating the global epidemic of asbestos-related disease by ending the mining and export of chrysotile, as the WHO recommends."

Asbestos causes multiple diseases including: asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. For decades US victims of asbestos related disease have sought benefits under the workers' compensation system from employers. They have also filed claims under the civil justice system against suppliers, manufacturers and distributors of asbestos products. Due to the latency of the disease from exposure to manifestation, despite the reduction in the use of asbestos fiber, the disease continues to be very prevalent in the US and throughout the world.

Click here to read more about efforts to ban asbestos production in the US.