Bill Will Ban Use of Asbestos in Ontario
A member of the Canadian parliament who hails from the Sarnia-Lambton region of Ontario has introduced a bill that will ban the use of asbestos in Ontario, and his compatriots are cheering his initiative, proclaiming that the motion can’t come soon enough, reports The Sarnia Journal.
“Nowhere is the devastation of asbestos more evident than in Sarnia, in Ontario,” said Mark Parent, executive director of the local Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers.
“Few communities in Canada have experienced such needless suffering and loss as the workers of the Chemical Valley.”
The bill, if passed, will immediately ban the use of asbestos and/or any products that contain the toxic mineral. It would also ban any products containing asbestos from being imported into the province, officials explain.
In addition, the bill will demand the creation of a registry that lists any buildings owned or leased by the province that contain asbestos.
This would function as a forewarning for anyone doing construction work on these buildings as well as for first responders, including firefighters, who might come into contact with asbestos materials while on the job.
“When a fire call comes in, or an emergency response call, there would be an alert come up on the screen,” explained Parent, who added that widespread industrial use has left Sarnia with the highest rates of asbestos-related cancer in Ontario.
“Unless it is banned immediately, asbestos will continue to inflict pain and death, he said. “The safe use of asbestos is not practically achievable.”
There are others who would disagree with Parent and with the residents of Sarnia, Ontario. Many officials throughout the world – including in the United States – have resisted such bans as the Sarnians propose, intent on proving that some kinds of asbestos can be used safely or that minimal exposure is not a problem.
However, medical professionals have known for decades that any amount of exposure to toxic asbestos fibers can cause diseases such as asbestosis or mesothelioma. Hence, even casual use is a problem.
In addition, Canadians have long defended the use of chrysotile “white” asbestos, saying it is safe. Chrysotile was mined for decades in the province of Quebec, and it is only in the last five years that the mines there have shuttered their doors and officials have admitted that white asbestos is also toxic.