Canadian construction unions, Cancer Society demand asbestos mine closure

According to the Canadian Journal of Commerce, more pressure is being put on the Jeffrey Asbestos Mine in Quebec by construction unions, workplace safety organizations and the Canadian Cancer Society to shut down operations.   The mine is the largest in Canada and supplies asbestos to the developing world.

Asbestos causes lung cancer, chronic lung scarring and other respiratory issues as its fibers are inhaled, which happens when the material is being mined, used in construction or is otherwise disturbed.  

The executive director of the British Columbia and Yukon Territory Building Trades Council said in a statement at a recent trades convention that, “The horrible results of asbestos-related cancers now happening to B.C. construction workers should never be allowed anywhere in the world. The Jeffrey Mine is solely based on exporting deadly asbestos to vulnerable developing countries that have not yet banned asbestos.”  The Jeffrey Mine intends to create 500 jobs over the next 25 years in the small town of Asbestos, Quebec, but the World Health Organization says that 90,000 people worldwide die every year due to asbestos exposure-related causes.  

 Developing countries still use asbestos, but do not have the awareness or handling procedures in place to protect workers, which is why many organizations want the asbestos mine shut down. The mine is currently depending on a bank loan for $58 million to stay open, and the Canadian Cancer Society has formally requested that the government not support the loan and phase out the exportation of asbestos, along with creating a registry of buildings containing asbestos.  

Many older homes in Canada still contain asbestos from when it was widely used in building materials before it was found to be dangerous, and homeowners thinking of renovating should always undergo an asbestos inspection before disturbing materials like ceilings, insulation, tiles, pipes and cement. Asbestos abatement should also only be done by a certified asbestos technician because of the difficulty involved in keeping the asbestos safely contained. 

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

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