In the face of skyrocketing rates of malignant mesothelioma in the Quebec regions were asbestos mining once dominated the economy, you would think that residents would be grateful that the material was banned. Instead, politicians and business owners are searching for new ways to monetize the carcinogenic material, relying on the government exemption of existing asbestos residue from the ban, and paying little heed to the warnings being expressed by safety and health experts.
Dismissing fears of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, the proposed plan’s advocates explain that new technology will extract magnesium, a valuable mineral, from the estimated 800 million tons of asbestos that have been left behind by years of mining. While they speak of renewed economic vigor, public health officials fear that it will further the scourge of illness that has left Quebec with a rate of mesothelioma that is twice as high as the rest of the country.
In defense of its technology, the owners of Alliance Magnesium Inc. say that they will not only generate magnesium and amorphous silica, but at the same time they will destroy the asbestos that remains in the environment following years of mining. Safety experts are urging caution, and are focused on the method that will be used to protect workers and the environment while the existing asbestos is disturbed in order to put it through the process. They have urged the government that before they move forward with the plan, they need to ensure that the level of asbestos in the air will not increase above its current levels, and that the public is kept away from the project in order to maximize their safety, but the government refused to put those cautions in place, limiting their protective actions to requiring workers to wear protective gear.
Speaking of the risk of mesothelioma, Dr. Philippe Lessard, regional director of public health for the Chaudière-Appalaches region said, “The risk I see … is that as soon as we start to manipulate and disturb these residues, we are sending these (asbestos) fibres into the air, and they will circulate with the wind and settle everywhere, near the homes and the population.” Asbestos fiber levels are already higher in communities where mines once existed, and so are the number of victims of asbestos-related diseases.
Those who make money from asbestos have always put profit over people, and thats why so many people have had their lives ruined by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. If you have been negatively impacted by a company’s failure to act responsibly, we can help. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.