Five reasons Canada must ban asbestos now

February 3, 2016

Canadian unions have long called on the federal government to implement a comprehensive ban on all use and imports of asbestos, and for a registry of both contaminated buildings and people with diseases caused by asbestos. Here are five reasons why:

  1. Asbestos is killing Canadians: It’s estimated that more than 2,000 people die every year from diseases caused by asbestos exposure, like mesothelioma and lung cancer. Death from mesothelioma increased 60 percent between 2000 and 2012. Internationally, the WHO reports an average of 100,000 asbestos-related deaths per year.
  2. Asbestos-related diseases are on the rise: In 1992 there were 276 recorded cases of mesothelioma. Twenty years later the number of new cases of mesothelioma has more than doubled, with 560 recorded in 2012.
  3. Asbestos imports into Canada are increasing: Imports of asbestos-related items rose to almost $6 million in 2015 from $4.9 million, the year before.
  4. In addition to their health, Canadians’ jobs are being put at risk: Canada is importing replacement brake pads and linings containing asbestos, despite the fact that Canada manufactures non-asbestos replacement alternatives.
  5. Many countries have already banned asbestos. Those countries include: Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and South Africa, among many others.