CANADA – A national environmental law organization has issued a statement urging for a ban on asbestos.
The Canadian Environmental Law Association is asking for support to ban asbestos in the US and Canada. The CELA endorsed a statement by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and the Canadian Voices of Asbestos Victims, titled The North American Declaration, calling on Canadian Prime Minister Harper and US President Obama to help stop the production and exportation of the dangerous mineral.
“My father was exposed to asbestos while working as a labourer and electrician at the petro-chemical plants in Sarnia, Ontario. In 2008, he died from mesothelioma, just two months after his diagnosis, thirty to forty years after he was exposed,” said Stacy Cattran, Canadian Voices of Asbestos Victims Co-Founder. “Sarnia, like so many industrial towns, has suffered the loss of too many of her citizens to asbestos-related disease. After 130 years of mining asbestos, it is time for Canada to close the mines and transition the affected workers to other forms of industry. . . ”
Exposure to asbestos leads to the deadly mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs, heart and chest and although there are treatments for it, there is currently no cure for the asbestos-caused illness.
“For the first time in decades, Canada’s asbestos mines have stopped production. However, a decision to finance, reopen and expand the Jeffrey Mine in Quebec is expected by the end of the year”, said Fe de Leon, Researcher at CELA in a press statement. “If the Quebec government supports a decision to restart these mining operations, it will entrench the Canadian export of this cancer causing substance for decades to come. For developing countries where there are markets for Canadian asbestos, workers and their communities will bear the burden of asbestos exposure since exporters are not required to provide information on the toxicity or safe handling of these hazardous substances. This year, Canada was one of several countries that opposed listing asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention for exchanging information on hazardous substances. Consequently, health and safety labeling need not accompany these exports to unsuspecting workers.”
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