In the face of irrefutable evidence that exposure to asbestos causes numerous fatal and serious illnesses, include mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer and asbestosis, the country of Canada has done what the United States still has not been willing to do: they banned they import, sale and use of asbestos and asbestos-containing products. Though the ban does include some exceptions, survivors of those who have been lost to mesothelioma are praising the move, expressing hope that it will save lives, and looking forward to the other steps that need to be taken.
“It’s not a total ban, it’s a step in the right direction,” said Sandra Kinart, who lost a family member to mesothelioma. Kinart is from Sarnia and is part of a group called Victims of Chemical Valley that was formed by relatives and widows of industrial workers who were exposed to asbestos on the job. Sarnia is home to numerous chemical plants, refineries and other asbestos-contaminated sites, and the area has been hard hit by asbestos-related diseases. She says, “We will still be persevering on driving change for the future.”
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that has long been used to insulate and strengthen. It was prized in industrial settings, but in the last fifty years it has come to light that the material is highly carcinogenic. In many cases, the companies that utilized the material were aware of the dangers that asbestos posed to workers, but chose to continue using it and keep the information secret in order to continue reaping big profits from its use. As a result, tens of thousands have died painful, unnecessary deaths. Many countries around the world have enacted total bans on asbestos’ use, but in the United States and Canada powerful lobbyists have worked hard to prevent that from happening. Canada has now moved ahead of the United States in its ban, though the chemical and alkali industry there will continue to be able to use it for the next several years.
The Canadian advocates are now turning their attention to asbestos-contaminated buildings in the country, looking to establish a national registry so that construction workers will have warning before they begin renovation or demolition work. In the United States, those who have been exposed to asbestos are often able to pursue legal claims against the companies that knowingly exposed them to its dangers. If you need information about how to get justice for yourself or a loved one, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.