As reported in Postmedia News recently, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act seem to clearly indicate that the Canadian government has been helping to promote the supposedly “safe” mining and use of chrysotile asbestos even as it acknowledged the documented health risks. This comes in direct contrast to the current federal government’s repeated assertions that Canada’s position has been consistent throughout.
The documents include a memo to Environment Minister Peter Kent which concurred with the 2002 assessment of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous material under Annex III of the UN’s Rotterdam Convention. The briefing note states that Canada agreed that it accepted the scientific evidence, but still opposed its inclusion on the list, which would have required sellers to inform buyers of the hazards of asbestos, among other things.
It only underscores the Canadian government’s long term efforts to block the listing of chrysotile asbestos largely mined in Quebec, an industry that it is currently trying to revive with the support of the provincial government.
Maybe even in your home!
If your home was built before the 1970’s, you should assume it contains asbestos in one form or another. If you are looking to buy or renovate an older home then do yourself a favour and include an asbestos inspection on the list of things to do.
The material is very durable and likely to last for many years in bound form or if it’s contained, but it’s also true that many of the asbestos containing elements that you’ll find nowadays have already been in place for a long time. The material does eventually become brittle and break apart, capable of producing the friable – or inhalable – fibres that have been shown to cause lung disease, including mesothelioma.
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