TORONTO, ONT.—The Canadian Conference of Asbestos Workers (CCAW) is applauding a significant revision of Health Canada’s position on how harmful asbestos is.
According to a release, updated language now acknowledges that "asbestos, if inhaled, can cause cancer and other diseases."
This marks a definitive shift in the treatment of asbestos by the Canadian government, states the CCAW.
"The harmful health effects resulting from exposure to asbestos are an immediate concern for our workers," said Louis Dugay, president of the CCAW in a statement.
While this news was encouraging, the CCAW is also calling on the federal government to implement a Canada-wide ban on asbestos. This would also include banning the use of asbestos in products like drywall and water pipes. This would bring Canada’s standards in line with other countries including Australia, the United Kingdom and Japan.
"Asbestos workers in Canada should be afforded the same health and safety regimes as their counterparts in other skilled trades in Canada, and around the world," said Vince Engel of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers. "It is time for the federal government to join the 50+ countries that have banned asbestos globally and remove this toxic products from commercial, industrial and residential environments."
The World Health Organization has stated that asbestos of all types can cause diseases such as lung, larynx and ovary cancer as well as mesothelioma and asbestosis, the release reads.