Despite the fact that Canada has been criticized from nearly every corner of the globe over its asbestos policies, the country has decided to block the listing of the carcinogenic substance as a hazardous chemical.
According to the Toronto Sun, countries from around the globe are meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to debate the listing of chrysotile asbestos as hazardous under the Rotterdam Convention, but Canada is not budging.
As a result, the country is drawing even more criticism from officials at home as well as leaders from other countries, the news source said.
“The government says that the product is safe if used in a certain fashion but they’re refusing to ensure that the buyer is told to beware,” said Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton. “This is absolutely outrageous and unacceptable.”
Asbestos Remains Deadly Killer Around the World
While Canada fights to keep its asbestos industry alive, scientists continue to assert the dangerous properties of the material, particularly when individuals inhale the naturally occurring mineral fibers.
The inhalation of asbestos fibers has been proven to cause a range of serious illnesses, which include lung cancer, asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that attacks the tissues surrounding many of the body’s internal organs.
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 2,500 Americans receive a mesothelioma diagnosis each year. All told, asbestos-related diseases kill approximately 107,000 people around the world every year, according to the World Health Organization.
Canadian Officials Continue Pushing for Right to Export Carcinogen
While Canada has regulated the use of asbestos in its own country – much like many governments across the globe – industry officials still argue that they have the right to export the dangerous material to countries looking to purchase it.
According to the Sun, Industry Minister Christian Paradis says that Canadian companies have a number of incentives to continue exporting asbestos, from supplying developing countries that want to use it to creating jobs at the Jeffrey Mine in Quebec.
The Quebec government has lent a hand to the mine as well, offering it millions of dollars to keep it operational, according to the news source.
At some point, however, many government officials say that those pushing for the continued mining and exportation of asbestos need to realize the consequences their actions are having on others in different countries.
“Without exaggeration, we are exporting human misery on a monumental scale and yet we are taking active steps to ensure that companies do not even warn their customers,” NDP MP (Member of Parliament) Pat Martin explained.