Magazine article New Internationalist

Quebec Bails out Asbestos Industry

Magazine article New Internationalist

Quebec Bails out Asbestos Industry

Article excerpt

They're still mining on· of the world's most deadly substances in the town of Asbestos in the southeast region of Quebec. The irony is that asbestos (the mineral) is banned in many countries, including Canada. This past December, the Quebec government propped up the ailing Jeffrey Mine with a $58 million loan.

Asbestos, used mainly as roofing material and insulation, is sold to countries like India, Thailand and Vietnam where health and safety regulations are lax and where it's much cheaper than alternatives.

In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), reported that 'all forms of asbestos cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, ovarian cancer and cancer of the larynx'. Exposure is mainly from inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibres. The WHO estimates that there are 90,000 asbestos-related deaths worldwide each year. (There are about 400 mining jobs at stake at the Jeffrey Mine.)

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) called for a ban on asbestos mining and export in 2007. In addition, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Public Health Association and the National Specialty Society for Community Medicine have joined to raise awareness of the hazardous effects of the mineral and to stop its export. …

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