Canadian Red Cross Exec Ignites Controversy with Asbestos Industry Links

Business and personal relationships with links to the asbestos industry may lead the Canadian Red Cross Society to ask for the resignation of one of its Executive Board Members. Board Member Roshi Chandha hit the headlines earlier this month when anti-asbestos activists questioned the propriety of her serving with an organization known for its humanitarian work around the world.

Balcorp Ltd.
At issue is the fact that Ms Chandha is the wife of Baljit Chandha, president of Montreal-based Balcorp Ltd. and the main push behind the bid to re-open the huge Jeffrey Asbestos Mine in Quebec. As part of the deal, Balcorp is looking for $58 million in loan guarantees from the Quebec government.

Roshi Chandha also serves as an executive of Seja Trade Ltd., a shipping company that exports asbestos to Asian countries. The company is a subsidiary of Balcorp.

The Canadian Red Cross does not normally look into the outside business interests of its board members, but has decided to meet and review Ms Chandha’s position early in the new year. The effort to bring her ties to the asbestos industry to light was spearheaded by anti-asbestos activist Leah Nielson, who grew up in Sarnia, Ontario and watched her father die of mesothelioma in 2008.  Her father worked in construction and brought home the asbestos fibres on his work clothes, and the deadly disease may also have affected her mother, who is currently under medical observation for a spot on her lung.

Asbestos Exposure
His example illustrates a lingering problem. Not only did construction workers of much of the 20th century expose themselves and their families to the deadly effects of asbestos, they left behind a wide variety of asbestos-tainted products routinely used in construction prior to 1970, including insulation, siding, ceiling and roof tiles and more.

Please note – if you suspect any kind of asbestos use in your home, and before any renovation projects, please DO NOT DISTURB OR HANDLE the material in question. The danger from asbestos comes from inhaling the fibres, and anything you can do to contain or avoid it until you can call in the experts from GreenStream Environmental Services will help to minimize the impact.

It is not considered dangerous if the material is still intact; however any future nicks or breaks in the surface can mean a potential hazard.

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