Exposure to asbestos causes malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. This is a fact that has been proven for nearly 50 years and is accepted by virtually every medical professional on the planet, but that hasn’t stopped some Canadian officials from claiming the naturally occurring substance can be used safely.
However, a growing number of Conservative members of Parliament in Canada have been backing away from the position of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other officials that chrysotile asbestos is safe, according to The Canadian Press.
The news source reports that the Conservatives have solidly backed Harper throughout his time in office and while there has not yet been a major eruption over asbestos, it appears as if that may be changing.
Fissures form among Tories
According to the news provider, the first sign of a split among the Conservatives came in early November when five Tories abstained from a New Democratic Party vote to ban the export of asbestos.
More recently British Columbia MP Mark Warawa organized a meeting between Conservative lawmakers and the Chrysotile Institute – an asbestos industry organization – that saw the legislators ask pointed questions of asbestos backers.
Alberta Conservative MP Jim Hillyer said the purpose of the meeting was to gather information.
“We ask questions so that we can make decisions that we feel are in the best interest of Canada, so it certainly wasn’t a love-fest where we were making strategies with the asbestos industry or the chrysotile industry,” Hillyer told the news source. “But at the same time we weren’t there to attack them and lambaste them, we were just there to get some information.”
Effects of asbestos undeniable
Since the mid-1960s it has been an accepted fact in the medical community that exposure to asbestos is responsible for the development of asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that attacks the thin membrane that lines the chest, abdomen and many of the body’s internal organs. In addition, asbestos exposure is a major cause of lung cancer.
All told, such asbestos-caused diseases claim the lives of 107,000 people around the world each year, according to the World Health Organization.
Kathleen Ruff – a prominent asbestos critic – said that the meetings were a positive sign.
“[The asbestos sellers] have lost all the scientific battles and they’re losing the political battle,” she told the news provider.