Ban Asbestos, Canada!
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Please join with us in calling for Canada to ban asbestos
This year, approximately 2,000 Canadians will receive the grim news that they have cancer caused by asbestos. Many will die, including most of those (approximately 500 people annually) diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer uniquely caused by asbestos exposure. This is Canada’s share of over 100,000 asbestos cancer deaths worldwide every year. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has documented that all forms of asbestos cause cancer. The World Health Organization has stated that there is no known safe exposure limit for asbestos, regardless of what “acceptable exposure limits” may exist, and for many victims there is no cure. With evolving technology, there are safe and effective alternatives to asbestos so its use is no longer needed. In response, over 50 countries have banned asbestos. Now is the time for Canada to join them.
Ban Asbestos Canada is a network of asbestos victims, families who have lost or are losing a loved one to asbestos, non-profit advocacy groups, public health organizations and experts, and labour and employer organizations. We have come together to call on Canada’s political parties to support a complete ban on asbestos in Canada. We are also asking for their support for a comprehensive Canadian asbestos strategy. That strategy would ensure that we maximize protection from the large quantities of asbestos remaining in our work places, public buildings and home environments; provide the best possible medical care to people who are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease; and, support affected communities and industries in the transition to elimination of asbestos. An overview of the proposed Canadian asbestos strategy is attached.
Never in Canadian history have so many voices been raised in support of a ban, including recent editorials in the Toronto Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. The editorials responded to Health Canada’s recent changes to its website information on asbestos, which shifted from formerly downplaying the hazards of asbestos to an emphasis on the harmful health effects.
· Globe and Mail – July 4, 2015 – “The next logical steps are a ban on asbestos and a comprehensive plan for its safe removal from homes, schools, office buildings and cars.”
· Toronto Star – July 4, 2015 – “Providing accurate warnings is a useful first step. But what’s really needed is a total ban, coupled with a national asbestos removal program.”
The recent change in Canadian leadership provides the opportunity to make a historic breakthrough on asbestos. The question around asbestos is no longer whether or not it is safe. That debate was settled by science – there is no such thing as safe asbestos. The question now is whether Canada’s political parties will commit to finally move forward with a complete ban, accompanied by a comprehensive strategy to protect the public, to support the victims, and to address the lingering problem of asbestos in our built environment. We are all at risk, as asbestos was commonly used in building materials for decades; it’s in our homes, our schools, our hospitals, and unfortunately in many unpredictable and unexpected places. Sadly, asbestos use continues today in Canada – in imported brake pads, asbestos cement pipe and even children’s crayons!
So we are asking the Canadian government to support an asbestos ban and comprehensive asbestos strategy for Canada.
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