A Call To Action: What You Can Do To Stop Asbestos Production

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article reflect only those of the author and not necessarily of SFU Volunteer Services.

There has been a lot of buzz around Asbestos, especially for its link to asbestosis (scarring of the lung) and lung cancer.

It is a “virtually indestructible” natural mineral used in the 1940s and 1950s in the manufacturing and construction industries. However, given its toxic nature Canada and many other countries have banned or limited its use.

Some developing countries still use asbestos for construction and manufacturing and their handling of the material is inadequate in most cases. You can read more about asbestos on CBC’s website.

Canada exports almost all of its asbestos to developing countries (2008).

The federal government spends $250,000 of its taxpayers’ money every year to fund the sale of asbestos. The Quebec government is considering subsidizing one of the two Canadian mines with $58 million dollars to keep it in operation.

Send a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and to Quebec Premier Jean Charest to eliminate the asbestos industry and pressure governments in developing countries to offer safer conditions for their workers.

If you want to take action, here are three ways you can help:

1) The David Suzuki Foundation offers a pre-written message for users to send to politicians.

2) RightOnCanada.com encourages local newspapers throughout Canada to publish their anti-asbestos ad.

3) Contact them yourself. The Prime Minister’s e-mail: Harper.S@parl.gc.ca; Quebec Premier’s e-mail: ministre@mrnf.gouv.qc.ca.

It is difficult to change government regulations in other countries, but we can push our government to help decrease deaths related to asbestos worldwide.

By Leslie Pineda