Asbestos set to be ousted from Canada by 2018

29 Dec 2016 by under News

GHS pictogram silhouette.svg  100x100 Asbestos set to be ousted from Canada by 2018The Canadian government has announced its plan to remove asbestos and asbestos-containing products from the country within the next year, according to a government press release.

In a “whole-of-government approach,” asbestos will be banned by 2018 after the introduction of new regulations eliminates its manufacture, use, import and export under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999. The group of soon-to-be-banned silicate minerals is known to be a human carcinogen and closely related to the development of the fatal cancer.

“Across and around the world, asbestos-related cancers continue to hurt Canadian families and pose a significant burden for our health care systems,” Minister of Health Jane Philpott said in the release. “Our government is taking action to protect Canadians from substances such as asbestos that can be harmful to their health and safety.”

The announcement comes a week after the release of new numbers showing asbestos is still the main cause of Canadian workplace deaths, as the country was once one of the largest asbestos producers before its last two mines closed in 2011, according to The Globe and Mail. More than 50 countries, including all of the European Union but excluding the United States, have banned the substance.

Michaela Keyserlingk, whose husband died of mesothelioma, told the news source that she was “grateful for the first step” but couldn’t help of thinking of the people who will be exposed before the ban takes effect. “I think there is a terrible urgency to this … By putting it off … it’s a terrible, terrible thing what happens to families, who will never be the same. And it’s very hard to forget that,” she said.

Public Services and Procurement Canada has already published a National Asbestos Inventory of federal buildings containing the carcinogen, which only becomes a significant health risk when it is disturbed and becomes airborne.

Gabriel Miller, vice-president of public issues for the Canadian Cancer Society, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail, “What a ban says is: We admit, all asbestos causes deadly cancers, and it comes in no safe form. And ending the denial and the delay that’s defined our approach to asbestos in Canada is the first step to healing the scars of this substance.”


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