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article imageGroups petitioning Canada's government to ban asbestos

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 23, 2016 in Health
While asbestos has been banned in several countries, some for decades, it is not banned in many others, including Canada. A group of national union officials held a press conference in Ottawa this week to seek a ban.
Mesothelioma: Deadly cancer
Along with the groups petitioning the Canadian government to ban asbestos, family members of those who have died of cancer caused by asbestos, or are dying, were also at the press conference. Many workers exposed to asbestos contact a form of cancer called mesothelioma, tantamount to a death sentence.
They called on the Liberal government to ban asbestos and pointed out there are other materials to replace asbestos which are not dangerous. The president of the Canadian Labor Congress, Hassan Yussuff, told media that given how easily replaceable asbestos is there is "no reason for delay."
Canadian Press reporter Bruce Cheadle reported in a story that studies done by the Canadian Cancer Society found that "more than 2,000 Canadians die from asbestos exposure every year, with 580 new cases of incurable mesothelioma diagnosed in 2014."
It was noted at the press conference that contractors and others who work with and around asbestos on job sites can, should they fail to shower before returning home, take asbestos fibres back to their families.
Asbestos bans
Mr. Yussuff said he was been in talks with government to further inform them of the dangers of asbestos and urge them to pass legislation banning asbestos, which has been used by humans for thousands of years.
Health issues related to asbestos exposure have been noted since Roman times and it has been officially recognized as a workplace carcinogen since the 1950's.
There are now some 55 countries worldwide that have banned asbestos, including Australia, Chile, Egypt Greece, Japan, Mozambique, Norway and the United Kingdom. Along with Canada, other countries who have not banned asbestos include China, India, Russia and the United States.
In addition to the deadly mesothelioma, asbestos also causes lung cancer and other cancers.
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