Asbestos & Canada

There was an interesting reportage on radio-canada (cbc in french) on friday night about asbestos & canada. I found that the attitude of Canadian government and companies towards asbestos was the same “kind” of attitude than the one towards Basel treaty. Here’s some interesting facts that I noted from the reportage:

* Asbestos is recognized as hazardous and a threat for public health by all western countries except Canada.

* Some scientific studies show that with appropriate care, asbestos can be safe.

* The form of cancer due to asbestos takes 20-30 years to develop.

* The european union has recently banned asbestos completely.

* Canada blindly exports its asbestos to developing countries where they don’t take appropriate safety measures to handle it. Huge outbreaks of cancers due to asbestos are predicted in these countries (china, thailand,…).

* Other western countries accused canada of using its “good” image and being hypocrites towards developing countries.

* To be consistant and answer others accusations, canada lifted some restrictions on asbestos in canada… so now we put it everywhere in our roads. The government even considered put it in the parliement… but they backed off.

* If Quebec would be a country it would be the country with the highest rate of cancers directly linked to asbestos

* All the asbestos industry is in quebec and it’s worth about $160,000,000. It employs about 1000 persons only 4 months per year.

* Asbestos lobby would be one of the strongest, similar to tobacco lobby.

So basically the conclusion of the reportage was that we risk our own health, the health of thousands of construction workers in developping countries, the international credibility of canada… all this for saving that industry. And you can also do the maths:

– $(the welfare of the 1000 employees for the 8 months they don’t work)
– $(the medical cost for cancers)
– $(CSST cost)
– $(the indemnities for the relatives of the ones who die of that cancer)
– $(the cost of the agency that promotes asbestos)
Is it really worth it????

2 Responses to “Asbestos & Canada”

  1. sieber says:

    The asbestos lobby is not only strong here but also in the US. The current vice president of the US, Dick Cheney, was CEO of Haliburton, which bought an asbestos company on the verge of getting major class action lawsuits. Surprisingly, in this year’s State of the Union address, the president singled out asbestos lawsuits as something crippling the country. Go figure.

  2. Brian says:

    Is mesothelioma cancer or just a lung disease???