As the 11th annual National Asbestos Awareness Week comes to a close, one thing remains abundantly clear: asbestos is still very much a problem in our country. However, it is also critical to remember that although this week is a national observance in the U.S., asbestos is a global threat. In fact, a recent news story called attention to Canada and the fact that imports of asbestos-containing products are rising in our neighboring country—despite the very real risk of developing mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease.
Asbestos Threatening the Health of Canadian Workers
Canada imported $6 million worth of asbestos-related products in 2014; this was up significantly from $4.9 million in 2013. More than half of the money was spent on asbestos brake linings and pads. In the past decade, Canada has imported more than $100 million worth of asbestos brake pads and linings, which means many of the country’s auto mechanics may be in serious danger of developing an asbestos-related disease.
Along with auto mechanics, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board lists construction workers and shipyard workers among employees that have the highest risk of being exposed to asbestos at work. This is because not only are these workers coming into contact with all types of asbestos-containing products, they also work in jobs that involve altering those materials in some way. When auto mechanics clean car parts with air hoses, construction workers renovate a building, or shipyard workers repair an older vessel, asbestos fibers can be released into the air and inhaled by anyone in the general vicinity.
Download one of our FREE Fact Sheets to learn more about high-risk occupations and how asbestos exposure may occur.
Continue the Fight to Ban Asbestos
Asbestos has been banned in several countries around the world, but both Canada and the U.S. are among a group of countries that are dragging their feet in banning the use of this deadly material. It is extremely important that we all continue working to ban the use of asbestos so we can protect ourselves, and the people we love, from the deadly diseases that asbestos exposure can cause.