Canada to ban import, sale, use of cancer-causing asbestos

20 Oct 2018 by under News

asbestos Trump Russia Facebook image OAO 100x100 Canada to ban import, sale, use of cancer causing asbestosJust months after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency () under the Trump administration unveiled plans to ease its oversight on cancer-causing asbestos to allow new uses, Canada announced it will ban the mineral effective by the end of the year.

The Ottawa cabinet supported Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s proposed regulations, which would ban the import, sale, and use and of products containing asbestos, as well as consumer products like talcum powder that have more than trace amounts of asbestos. The manufacture of products using processed asbestos fibers will also be forbidden.

But Canada’s regulations will allow for companies to sift through about 800 tonnes of residue from asbestos mines in Quebec to extract magnesium. The asbestos mines were a major economic driver in the area until the mines were shuttered over health concerns. The last of them closed in 2011. But there is a lot of leftover asbestos-tainted rock left behind.

The Quebec government is helping finance Alliance Magnesium’s effort to extract magnesium from that rock with plans to sell the magnesium to auto parts and aerospace manufacturers as a lighter alternative to aluminum. The idea is that lighter planes and vehicles will reduce emissions.

But asbestos expert Kathleen Ruff says that it is dangerous business for Ottawa to allow this exemption to the country’s asbestos ban. “Everyone is in favor of jobs and helping communities, everyone is glad for new enterprises,” she said. “But it shouldn’t be at the cost of human health. It shouldn’t be unsafe.”

Asbestos contains durable and fire-resistant fibers and thus was commonly used in construction and shipbuilding materials. But exposure to the microscopic asbestos fibers can cause serious health risks including the incurable lung disease asbestosis, lung cancer, and , a rare for of cancer that forms in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or chest.

Asbestos is banned in more than 60 countries around the world. The mineral has never been banned in the United States, though its use was restricted in the 1980s.

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