As Canada winds down its asbestos mining industry, it’s now trying to address the needs of workers left without jobs.
Luc Berthold, the mayor of asbestos stronghold Thetford Mines, wants money to help his community survive, as the Montreal Gazette reports. About 100 former miners have been out of work since the Lac d’amiante (Lake Asbestos) mine in St-Joseph-de-Coleraine closed in 2011. Berthold believes the Quebec government has a duty to move swiftly to support the region. For Berthold, it appears that the asbestos era is officially over for Quebec, as it heads towards a possible ban on the carcinogenic mineral.
Canada has until recently been a staunch supporter of its asbestos industry. Government leaders disputed the established scientific consensus that all forms of asbestos are dangerous to human health. They claimed that chrysotile, or the white asbestos mined in Quebec, was safe. Canada also exported more than 150,000 tons of asbestos to developing nations such as India every year, despite stringent prohibitions against its own domestic use.
As this blog has noted, last month the Canadian government pledged $50 million (in Canadian currency) to support economic diversification efforts in the asbestos mining communities of Thetford Mines and Asbestos. That cash was originally earmarked towards a loan to fund the reopening of Canada’s last major asbestos mine. Canada has yet to join the more than 50 nations that have already enacted a complete ban on asbestos. Another nation that lacks a ban on asbestos is the United States. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came close to implementing a ban in 1989, but its attempt was defeated by an industry court challenge.
Even brief exposures to asbestos can lead to serious illnesses and cancers, including lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma.
If you or a family member has suffered from the devastating effects of asbestos exposure, you have rights under the law. Monetary compensation in the form of a mesothelioma lawsuit can help pay medical bills and other expenses. Why wait? Call Sokolove Law for your free, no-obligation case evaluation today.