Quebec slammed for exporting asbestos while touting green initiatives

The Premier of Quebec recently spent some time in Delhi, India to promote the province’s eco-friendly participation in sustainable development projects and the Western Climate Initiative, an attempt made by several states and provinces to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

However, a dirty little fact seems to have proved contrary to these endeavours as Canada is one of the world’s largest exporters of the deadly mineral chrysotile, mined in Quebec and shipped to developing countries, including India.

Chrysotile is a form of asbestos, a toxic substance that causes mesothelioma, an aggressive form of lung cancer that affects people who work with and mine asbestos materials. Asbestos is sometimes referred to as an environmental “land mine”, causing serious illnesses and death decades after initial exposure. Most patients will not survive more than two years after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Despite the Canadian Government’s claims that chrysotile is a much safer type of asbestos, the World Health Organization maintains that asbestos in any form kills upwards of 90,000 people annually worldwide.

Most of Canada’s asbestos is exported to developing countries, where it is aggressively marketed as a safe, efficient and desirable material for building homes and other structures. In India it has already been linked to illnesses in construction workers, and the Trade Union Centre of India has estimated that asbestosis, another deadly lung disease, affects almost 25 per cent of those who work with the material in India.

Jean Charest, the Premier of Quebec, has said there was no feasible way for him to stop such an export, but many organizations, including the union of Building and Wood Workers International have demanded that Quebec stop the exportation. Other organizations have also made pleas to the Indian Government to ban the use of the substance.

Should you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home or business, Contact – Toronto’s asbestos removal specialists – at (416) 818-9414.

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