Canada’s Decision To Export Asbestos Incites Anger
February 18, 2011
Canada’s plans to increase the production and exportation of asbestos at the Jeffrey Mine, the world’s largest asbestos mine, has incited outrage among citizens, activists, physicians, and public health workers, according to AOL News.
Asbestos is a known human carcinogen that is estimated to kill hundreds of thousands of people every year.
So, why in the world would Canada want to export this incredibly dangerous material to other countries where even more people would be exposed to its dangers?
Many believe it comes right down to greed.
“It is almost beyond belief that a free and democratic nation like Canada is willing to sacrifice human lives in poor and developing nations on the altar of avarice and greed,” said Dr. Michael Harbut, a cancer specialist who is the chief of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Michigan’s Karmanos Cancer Institute.
Canada is widely respected as one of the world’s most civil and polite places and is lauded for spending more to take care of its citizens than any other nation. Yet, many Canadian leaders say they fully favor shipping the lethal product to nations where, asbestos experts say, people are least likely know how to protect themselves from asbestos and how it can kill them.
Not everyone believes Canada’s decision to continue mining is a bad one. In fact, some Canadians actually believe the mining will breathe new life into a struggling economy.
Instead of blaming asbestos mining on health problems, many Canadians claim the problem is America. They believe the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has essentially made up these asbestos related health issues, even going so far as to call the claims myths.
One aging miner spoke sadly of the absence of round-the-clock grinding of ore crushers and the deafening rumble of huge equipment. “The heart of our town no longer beats strongly,” he said.
Another old miner, hands almost claw-like from arthritis and injuries, kept pointing toward the sky, repeating the same phrase in French.
A translator finally explained: “NASA. If our asbestos is so bad, why is it in the American spacecraft?”
The man acknowledged the town’s fondness and respect for its southern neighbors but then spit on the sidewalk and cursed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Our problems were caused by [America's] meddling,” he said.
Well, let’s hope that what’s best for our environment and human health triumphs over big businesses love of money.