Asbestos lobby group hires same PR agency used by tobacco companies

It appears Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative government have a new ally in their quest to keep exporting carcinogenic asbestos to unsuspecting countries around the world.

The International Chrysotile Association, closely associated with Montreal’s Chrysotile Institute, is apparently worried that developing nations like Malaysia will find out the truth: that asbestos removal is imperative and that any kind of exposure to the fibres can cause terminal illnesses like mesothelioma, a cancer that attacks the protective lining around vital organs.

Worried that the rest of the world is figuring out what we Canadians already know, the asbestos lobbyists are turning to PR firm APCO Worldwide.

Does the company’s name ring a bell? APCO Worldwide is the PR agency known for defending the Phillip Morris tobacco company in the early 1990s. It set up a group called The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition and tried to dismiss the world’s worries about second-hand smoke as “junk science.”

This same “noble” company is now trying to convince developing nations like Malaysia, prime importers of asbestos from countries like Canada, that asbestos can be handled safely.

The problem is that developing nations sometimes don’t fully understand that these PR firms and their faulty “science” coalitions are financially motivated to champion carcinogens like tobacco and asbestos. They’re hired by the companies exporting the killer chemicals and fibres!

“Only lobby organizations that have a financial interest in selling asbestos claim that asbestos can be safely used, just as the lobby organizations acting on behalf of the tobacco industry have denied the clear science on tobacco harm,” said Ottawa anti-asbestos activist Kathleen Ruff in a recent letter to APCO Worldwide president Margery Kraus. Ruff is demanding that the company inform Malaysia that it was hired by the International Chrysotile Association.

If asbestos was harmless when handled safely, why is asbestos remediation happening across our country? Why do miners who “safely handled” chrysotile contract lung cancer?

It was shameful for PR agencies to defend tobacco companies and supporting asbestos lobby groups – to manipulate a government that doesn’t have all the facts – is just a shameful.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite, mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA, GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414.

Asbestos victims’ relatives rally against Tory MP doctor

It has been quite the spring and summer for Canada’s asbestos exportation debate. Every time it looks like the discussion has hit a stalemate, and the Conservative government won’t budge on the issue, a new backlash rises up.

The latest: the relatives of asbestos victims are rallying against Dr. Kellie Leitch, a Conservative MP, on the grounds that she shouldn’t support the Tory party’s asbestos exportation because she clearly understands the danger of asbestos given her medical training.

On Monday, The Canadian Press obtained a letter signed by more than 40 people whose loved ones were killed by asbestos. The letter demands that Dr. Leitch give up her medical license if she wants to continue supporting the Conservatives.

“If you choose to continue to support medical misinformation and to support asbestos, we ask that you hand in your medical licence and cease being a physician, since you are in violation of the most fundamental standard required of all medical doctors: do no harm,” the letter said.

The letter also explains that asbestos victims won’t sit idly while Dr. Leitch and the Tories “aid and abet the creation of more asbestos victims amongst the poorest and most unprotected people on the planet, who don’t even have the medical assistance or pain killers to help them when they die terrible deaths from asbestos.”

Dr. Leitch, considered a star Tory candidate for the May election, recently stated that the Conservatives will continue supporting the “safe, controlled use” of asbestos. In light of the criticism she’s received, she’s also reminded the public that her area of medical expertise is bones, not lungs.

Hmm. Interesting for a doctor to claim ignorance when average Canadian citizens know how dangerous asbestos is and how prudent asbestos removal is. Dr. Leitch knows the term “mesothelioma” and that it’s a cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibres.

The rest of Canada is fighting asbestos by removing it from schools and other buildings and undergoing asbestos remediation wherever possible. It’s time for the Tories, and any medical professionals supporting the party, to take the next step and stop exporting asbestos.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite, mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA, GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414.

Serving homes and businesses in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and across Ontario, including Ajax-Pickering, Barrie, Brampton, Durham Region, Halton, Markham, Mississauga, Newmarket, North York, Oakville, Oshawa, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Vaughan, Woodbridge and Whitby.

9/11 First Responders have increased cancer risk from asbestos exposure

It’s hard to believe this Sunday will mark the 10th anniversary of the horrifying September 11 terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center, launched a war and changed the world forever. The scars of that day still run deep.

For the many brave First Responders who fought to save lives that day, the long-term damage may not only be psychological, but physical. They were exposed to large quantities of asbestos during the rescue missions and are now at increased risk for cancer.

A recent study in The Lancet, a British journal, said that 9/11 firefighters are 19 per cent more likely to develop cancer than those not at the Ground Zero wreckage. Though the results aren’t fully conclusive, the study also suggested that the firefighters don’t just have an increased chance of mesothelioma, the cancer most commonly associated with asbestos; they have a greater risk of all kinds of cancer.

As a study released by HP Environmental explained after the terrorist attacks explained, the falling towers created a floating cloud of rubble and powder. Inside the cloud were asbestos fibres pulverized so small that they couldn’t be detected by the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard asbestos test. Anyone exposed to the cloud received a particularly powerful dose with an “overwhelming concentration” of asbestos particles. Scary stuff.

Naturally, the First Responders were right in the thick of the rubble cloud, many for days at a time, and appear to have been jolted with an unprecedented level of asbestos exposure.

No one can take back what happened on 9/11. But the release of asbestos fibres at Ground Zero and the long-term damage they’ve caused highlight the importance of asbestos remediation. Asbestos removal obviously can’t stop a terrorist attack but it can minimize the damage caused by the aftermath.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite, mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA, GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414.

Serving homes and businesses in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and across Ontario, including Ajax-Pickering, Barrie, Brampton, Durham Region, Halton, Markham, Mississauga, Newmarket, North York, Oakville, Oshawa, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Vaughan, Woodbridge and Whitby.

Canada’s doctors rally to oppose Harper government on asbestos

A scathing feature on the Daily Show wasn’t enough. Countless political rallies weren’t enough. Full opposition from other countries at the Rotterdam Convention wasn’t enough. Even countless deaths from mesothelioma and lung cancer weren’t enough. It seems nothing has convinced the Harper government to change its viewpoint on asbestos exportation.

Could Canada’s doctors finally do it?

On Wednesday, delegates to the Canadian Medical Association’s general assembly voted 99 per cent in favour of supporting a motion opposing the government’s stance that chrysotile asbestos is not a hazardous substance.

“This is an important healthcare issue and a product that causes significant illness – even death,” said Dr. Jeff Turnbull, the CMA’s outgoing president. “Canada should not be in the business of exporting such a dangerous product.”

Asbestos removal is a booming business in Canada for a reason. The fibres are deadly! We stop at nothing to expel it from our homes, yet the government continues to support its exportation.

So what now? It appears the country’s doctors are tired of simply trumpeting their distaste for the government’s actions.

“The time for the CMA is now to go beyond calling on the federal government and begging it to take action, as it clearly has no intention of doing so,” said Dr. Barry Turchen, based in Abbotsford.

What Dr. Turchen means remains to be seen. Will our doctors rally to storm Parliament Hill and stage a protest? With 99 per cent of them opposing the Harper government, they have strength in numbers.

If our prime minister won’t even listen to people as trustworthy as doctors, what other hope do we have in the battle to eliminate this dangerous material? Asbestos remediation companies are doing their job. Doctors are speaking out to contribute their part. Now it’s Harper’s turn.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite, mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA, GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414.

Tories threaten widow for using logo in asbestos attack ad

It appears the Conservative government wants to have its cake – or asbestos – and eat it, too.

The Tories are angry at widow Michaela Keyserlingk, whose husband died of asbestos-related cancer, because she is using the party’s logo in a negative ad campaign launched online against them.

The funny thing is – Keyserlingk is only stating the party’s actual position. Which is it, Conservatives? Do you support the export of asbestos or are you advocates for asbestos removal on the grounds that asbestos kills people? You publicly support the exportation, so what’s wrong with someone reminding the public of that?

Keyserlingk is angry after mesothelioma, the cancer caused by asbestos, killed her husband in 2009. As a result, she’s launched a banner ad that reads: “Canada is the only western country that still exports deadly asbestos!” with the Conservative logo appearing beside the text.

Dan Hilton, the Conservative party’s executive director, has warned Keyserlingk to stop using the logo immediately. He emailed her in July to warn her that “failure to do so may result in further action” because the ad constitutes an “Unauthorized use of trademark.”

Keyserlingk acknowledges that she’s breaking the law and says she’ll cancel the ad if a high-ranking Conservative party official meets with her to explain why it supports asbestos exportation.

Asbestos exposure directly causes cancer, weakening the cells that fight malignant growths, and Keyserlingk’s husband is just another concrete example of what asbestos does to the body. Yet, as has been made very public in recent months, the Canadian government continues to support its exportation. We know enough about its harmful nature to undergo asbestos remediation wherever possible in on our own soil – yet we still export it.

Kudos to Keyserlingk for battling the menace that killed her husband after he worked on Canadian naval ships. She said he “died a horrible, horrible death – I mean these people suffocate.”

If stories like hers aren’t enough to make our government stop exporting asbestos, what is?

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite, mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA, GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414.

Study: asbestos starts killing you instantly

Particularly because of all the negative media attention Canada has received recently over asbestos exportation, many of us have gained an understanding of the risks associated with the fire-retardant fibre. It causes mesothelioma, a cancer in the lining covering the body’s protective organs – most commonly the lungs.

Mesothelioma and asbestos’ carcinogenic status are well-documented; asbestos remediation is thus a bigger priority than it was in the past. What isn’t as commonly known, however, is just how quickly asbestos exposure hurts you.

Based on a recent mesothelioma study by Japanese scientists, anyone who claims it takes years to build up health problems from asbestos is sorely mistaken.

Our bodies have cells called “natural killers” or NK cells which function as natural cancer defenders. They find and destroy any pre-cancerous growths before they become a threat to our health. As the Japanese study revealed, asbestos exposure kills our natural killer cells, giving cancer cells free reign to grow and attack us.

The scariest aspect of the finding is that asbestos exposure decreases our defense against cancer cells almost immediately. Scientist discovered that even a week of exposure to the fibres lowers our NK count. A control was done with fibreglass; the fibreglass did not decrease NK counts over a week’s time.

Is there any better case to make for asbestos removal? Exposure to asbestos literally takes one week or less to make us more susceptible to cancer. Any home or business owner thinking of contracting someone to eliminate your problem should understand now that it belongs at the top of the priority list.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite, mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA, GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414.