Archive | Asbestos

The End of a Once Mighty, Still Deadly Industry: the Canada Letter – by Ian Austen (New York Times – October 19, 2018)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Canada’s positions on issues like same-sex marriage, immigration and, most recently, recreational marijuana have given it a reputation for progressiveness. But the government’s announcement this week that it was banning asbestos, a potent cause of cancer, came decades after many other nations took the step.

For more than a century, asbestos was a ubiquitous miracle fiber. Sprayed on the steel structure of buildings and inside ships, it suppressed fires. It was found in a type of home insulation and in roofing tiles, and was used to seal heating ducts.

Asbestos was mixed with concrete to make pipes, woven into flameproof fabrics, and made into gaskets, building supplies and a variety of industrial goods. But inhaling even small quantities of its fibers could be deadly. Continue Reading →

Canada’s ban on asbestos to take effect but mining residues are exempt – by Mia Rabson (Financial Post – October 17, 2018)

https://business.financialpost.com/

CANADIAN PRESS – OTTAWA — Canada’s new asbestos ban will not prevent companies in Quebec from sifting through the waste left over from decades of mining asbestos to look for magnesium.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is set to announce the new regulations on Thursday in Ottawa after cabinet gave the nod of approval to them at the end of September.

The regulations, which will take effect at the end of the year, bar the import, sale or use of processed asbestos fibres and products containing them, as well as consumer products that have more than trace amounts of asbestos. They also forbid the manufacture of products using processed asbestos fibres. Continue Reading →

A Town Named Asbestos Once Produced Most of the World’s Asbestos Supply – by Sarah Laskow (Atlas Obscura.com – August 9, 2018)

https://www.atlasobscura.com/

Asbestos mining in Canada stopped only in the past decade.

HIDDEN IN OLD BUILDINGS AND under streets, asbestos—once thought of as a “miracle mineral”—is always lurking. Though today it might seem like a relic of the past, under new rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. government could approve new uses of asbestos in consumer products going forward, reports Fast Company.

There are still places where asbestos mining is a notable industry: Canada’s asbestos mines—including the mine at Asbestos, Quebec, once the largest in the world—only closed within the last 10 years, and in Russia, the town of Asbest is still a major center of asbestos production.

Asbestos has many strange properties and has been incorporated into manmade products going back thousands of years. Manufactured, it often comes into human environments as a textile or a dangerous powder, but in nature it appears as six different types of natural silicates. Continue Reading →

Canada’s shameful asbestos legacy doesn’t need Donald Trump’s seal of approval – by Jennifer Wells (Toronto Star – July 21, 2018)

https://www.thestar.com/

So that makes five. Sandy Kinart’s brother-in-law died a couple weeks back, 14 years after mesothelioma took the life of her husband, Blayne. One a pipefitter, the other a millwright, the Kinart brothers spent their working lives in Sarnia, bearing the toxic industrial legacy of asbestos exposure.

In 1998, it was Sandy’s uncle Garnet, a fibreglass worker, who was felled by the aggressive cancer. There was another brother-in-law, gone. And an aunt. So that makes five.

“And we’re only one family,” Sandy says. “I do realize we live the legacy of the past, but by him allowing and condoning this behaviour only makes it so other families are going to be experiencing this in the future.” Continue Reading →

Deadly mineral that endangered town of Asbestos might save it (Bloomberg News/Montreal Gazette – March 7, 2018)

http://montrealgazette.com/

Residue from asbestos mine is rich in magnesium, which can be transformed into a light metal used in everything from medical implants to Tesla electric cars

There’s no running away from the past in Asbestos. The town’s most prominent landmark is a crater more than two kilometres wide — and deep enough to lodge the Eiffel Tower — a testament to the world’s once-bottomless appetite for the deadly mineral that sustained the local economy for decades and gave the town its name.

Quebec once produced half of the world’s asbestos and offered the highest-paying mining jobs in Canada before concern about cancer led to the fire-resistant fibre being banned in more than 50 countries, with the mine finally shutting down in 2012.

But now it turns out that the future of Asbestos may actually be in asbestos. Well, not in asbestos, per se, but in the millions of tons of discarded residue that piled up over more than a century of mining for it. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Investing in Canada’s clean tech ecosystem will promote effective mining waste management while reducing greenhouse gases (January 24, 2018)

NEWS PROVIDED BY: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Minister Bibeau announces $1.2 million to help a Thetford Mines company develop new technologies that will improve mining operations and produce cleaner ore

THETFORD MINES, QC, Jan. 24, 2018 /CNW/ – A more economical and environmentally friendly approach to capturing arsenic waste from mining operations may soon be developed thanks to an investment in new clean technologies from the Government of Canada.

The federal investment of $1.2 million was announced today by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophone and Member of Parliament for Compton–Stanstead, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

Dundee Sustainable Technologies will use the funding to develop a process to separate the arsenic waste commonly produced through mining operations and trap it in stable, non-toxic glass. Continue Reading →

Baie Verte Mayor reigniting talks around former asbestos mine – by Cory Hurley (Western Star – January 18, 2018)

https://www.thewesternstar.com/

Proposed federal asbestos regulations do not mention former operations in province

BAIE VERTE, NL — Baie Verte Mayor Brandon Philpott says it’s time for all key players to start talking about the open pit and exposed asbestos fibres at the former Advocate Mines site again.

His comment came following Canada’s recent action toward its promised ban of the use, sale, import and export of asbestos and products containing that hazardous material.

The federal health and environment departments are supporting changes to eliminate the market for asbestos products in the country. The proposed regulations include an exemption to allow for cleanup of asbestos residue around former mines in an attempt to redevelop the sites. Continue Reading →

FROM THE ARCHIVES: ‘It was like one big family’: 25 years later, a B.C. ghost town’s former residents still miss their home – by Maryse Zeidler (CBC News British Columbia – September 17, 2017)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/

Cassiar, B.C., was once centred around now-closed asbestos mine

When Herb Daum thinks of growing up in Cassiar, B.C., a lot of his memories seem to be about how frigid it was. “The winters were long, cold and hard,” said Daum, 63, from his home in Powell River, B.C.

Cassiar sits near the Yukon border. Temperatures as low as – 40 C weren’t unusual there, Daum says, and lakes in the area often wouldn’t thaw until June. As a pastime when Daum was little, he and his neighbourhood friends would climb onto the roof of his porch, pull down their toques over their heads, and dive head-first into the snow.

But the house that he grew up in doesn’t exist anymore. In fact, the entire town of Cassiar is gone, razed to the ground. “It’s kind of weird losing your roots like that,” Daum said. Twenty-five years ago this week, Cassiar, B.C., held an auction like none other: up for grabs was the entire contents of the company town. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Governments of Canada and Quebec support the Centre d’innovation minière de la MRC des Sources

Innovation for the economic diversification of an entire region

ASBESTOS, QC, June 27, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ – Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

Communities need to build on innovation to diversify themselves strategically and develop lasting regional competitive advantages.

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie and Member of Parliament for Compton–Stanstead, acting on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), and Karine Vallières, Member for Richmond and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier (youth), acting on behalf of Lise Thériault, Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for SMEs, Regulatory Streamlining and Regional Economic Development, announced that financial support has been granted to the Centre d’innovation minière de la MRC des Sources (website in French only).

CED has granted $2,500,000 in the form of a non-repayable financial contribution to start up a centre specializing in pilot-plant processes supporting business innovation projects in mining and industry. The funding was awarded through CED’s Canadian Initiative for the Economic Diversification of Communities Reliant on Chrysotile. Continue Reading →

Asbestos, spying and the Canadian connection – by Michelle Lalonde (Montreal Gazette – April 29, 2017)

http://montrealgazette.com/

This week in Geneva, delegates to a conference of the parties to the Rotterdam Convention are again discussing whether chrysotile asbestos should be put on the list of hazardous substances.

One hot topic is sure to be Canada, which until 2012 was a major exporter of chrysotile — the most common form of asbestos — and opposed its inclusion on the hazardous list. However, Ottawa has recently and dramatically changed its tune.

“When it comes to asbestos, the scientific evidence is clear,” Science Minister Kirsty Duncan said in an April 21 statement, just days before the conference got underway. “Irrefutable evidence has led us to take concrete action to swiftly ban asbestos and to support the listing of chrysotile asbestos to the Rotterdam Convention.” Continue Reading →

Learn from asbestos – and do more to protect Canadians – by Will Amos and David R. Boyd (Ottawa Citizen -January 4, 2017)

http://ottawacitizen.com/

The story of asbestos is a cautionary, disturbing and timely tale. The recent announcement that Canada will enact a comprehensive ban by 2018 is a decision that will save lives and prevent painful diseases caused by exposure to this deadly substance.

Banning asbestos is an important step towards fulfilling the fundamental right of all Canadians to live in a healthy environment. It also demonstrates that we finally have a federal government willing to make decisions based on scientific evidence.

To be clear: the decision comes decades late. Thousands of Canadians have already died from mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. Thousands more will suffer the same fate in the coming years. Asbestos is far and away the leading occupational killer, costing Canada billions of dollars annually. Continue Reading →

How federal politicians sheltered asbestos industry – by Jennifer Wells (Toronto Star – December 21, 2016)

https://www.thestar.com/

Has the phrase “better late than never” ever stood on a weaker truss than the Government of Canada’s decades-late decision to ban the manufacture, use, import and export of asbestos?

Successive federal governments — Liberal and Conservative — provided political shelter to companies mining chrysotile asbestos in Quebec, going so far as to fund the Chrysotile Institute whose purpose was to defend aggressively this particular type of asbestos as distinctly less hazardous than other forms of the magic mineral.

(A paper published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2008 called this argument “redolent of the tobacco industry’s playbook on light cigarettes.”) Occasionally, a politician would step out of line, only to be yanked back into asbestos-supporting formation. Continue Reading →

Asbestos, Que., a town left pondering its name in wake of proposed ban – by Ingrid Peritz (Globe and Mail – December 17, 2016)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

MONTREAL — To Canadians and much of the world, the word “asbestos” is synonymous with poison and a slow, painful death. But to 7,000 people in southern Quebec, the word is the name of their home. Now they are struggling over whether to turn their backs on it.

Ottawa’s announcement this week that it would ban the fibre has revived a debate in Asbestos about changing the town’s name, a symbolic gesture that would, in effect, wipe the product and the word off the map.

“To improve the economy, I’m ready to analyze all proposals, including changing the name,” the mayor of Asbestos, Hugues Grimard, said in an interview on Friday. “People are talking about it. I’m not closed to it.” Continue Reading →

Canada’s move to ban asbestos a ‘win for public health’ but long overdue: advocates – by Tavia Grant (Globe and Mail – December 16, 2016)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Canada will ban asbestos use by 2018, in what many health advocates hail as a victory for public health, albeit one that is long overdue. The federal government’s move is aimed at eventually reducing the rate of asbestos-related diseases. The hard work lies ahead, though, as the country deals with the deadly legacy of asbestos that exists in everything from homes and hospitals to elementary schools and universities.

“When it comes to asbestos, the science is … very clear,” Health Minister Jane Philpott said at a news conference Thursday. “We are taking action on this now to protect future generations of Canadians.”

The announcement comes after years of Globe and Mail coverage on the health impact of asbestos exposures, risks which had been played down by previous federal governments. Last week, The Globe reported on new annual numbers showing that asbestos remains the top cause of workplace deaths in Canada. Continue Reading →

Ottawa urged to ban asbestos immediately amid new data – by Tavia Grant (Globe and Mail – December 7, 2016)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The federal government should take immediate action to ban asbestos in Canada and establish an expert panel to review how the deadly substance is managed and disposed of in the country, a group of prominent organizations is urging, at a time when new annual numbers show asbestos is again – by far – the top on-the-job killer in Canada.

New data highlight the deadly toll of asbestos exposures on Canadian workers. Asbestos was the cause of death in 367 accepted claims in 2015, according to figures compiled by the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, making it the No. 1 workplace killer in the country. Since 1996, there have been 5,614 recorded work-related fatalities from asbestos.

An open letter, submitted to the Prime Minister Wednesday and released exclusively to The Globe and Mail, calls for a comprehensive asbestos ban and says Canada should follow the lead of Australia in establishing an asbestos management review process. Continue Reading →