#169 – Isbestos Country, Comrade!

Canada still imports asbestos-laden products.

Yup. That asbestos. Having worked in commercial real estate I can tell you that few words strike fear into the hearts of hilarious Quebecois contractors faster than the phrase “asbestos handling training”, because handling asbestos is a bitch. Originally a fire-retardant, asbestos became known for its life-retardant properties, namely that breathing in the fine particles that come off of disturbed asbestos gives people hell-cancer called mesothelioma (warning – nasty cancer picture associated with the link). Generally, hell-cancer is a bad thing that we ought to avoid.

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(s) By our forces combined, we are the Fuck Your Shit Up Squad!

The other thing about asbestos is that while encased it’s fairly harmless. The problem comes from the particles that come off of disturbed asbestos. If you ever renovate, rewire, suffer from any sort of damage to the building, bump into it, take out pipes or ductwork with latent asbestos particles inside, or indeed even damage the external casing you’re far past fucked. This means that you can choose to roll the dice with asbestos. Will another caker cut-corner contractor campus fail today in such a way that gives employees a neat case of the cancer-flakes? To find out if your friendly civil servant is eligble to play Am I Potentially Doomed to a Painful, Cancerous End, just look at this map of asbestos-laden federal buildings! Thankfully, Public Procurement saw the obvious danger and put a stop to building federal projects with asbestos…this year.

Forgive me a moment here. We’ve known that asbestos are a bad time for decades, and we’ve just gotten to the point where we’re not building with the shit anymore? And if it’s not safe for government workers why the hell are we importing the stuff? It’s one of the more common killers in the Canadian workforce and casualties, with 2000 deaths by asbestos exposure yearly. Canada’s labor unions are pushing for the substance to be outright banned. The Nords figured this out decades ago, banning this shit back in the early 1980s. It’s pretty apparent that anyone who values human life can find alternatives; we’ve grown past the fireproof cancer-fibre, thanks.

Except, not in Canada. Why is this? Part of it has to do with Quebec’s powerful asbestos industry, another example of idiotic resource extraction with no thought to other economic modes or ideas. I mean, there’s a fucking town called Asbestos in Quebec. You know who else opted to name a town after cancer? Russia. That’s not good company, guys. The Parti Quebecois stopped an attempted restart of the Jeffrey mines in 2012 because the Quebecois are a decent people when they aren’t deluded by Liberal fucks, and that was that. Someone valued human life over profits in Canada, and it shockingly wasn’t the Quebec Liberals.

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(s) Shocking.

As for other reasons why Canada tolerates asbestos and has for so long, I’m at a loss besides typical cynicism about cakers and their business practices. On that note – why are we fumbling about importing asbestos-laden brake pads when ceramic ones are made in Canada? It took me literally 4 seconds of typing to find this company. Why are we allowing for the importing of millions of dollars worth of deadly products when we make safer products here? It’s not like we don’t already have a problem with asbestos in our old buildings. 152,000 Canadian are still exposed to asbestos in buildings. The University of Windsor had to close a biology lab because of the stuff. We spend millions of dollars clearing this crap – why the fuck are we importing more of this shit, shit that we’ll inevitably have to deal with at massive cost and great risk?

And why did Health Canada claim that one kind of asbestos was healthier than another in 2012? What kind of public health body can deny the findings of the rest of the world (which rightly doesn’t think keenly of having to then pay for aggressive hell-cancer treatment and thus turfed asbestos wholesale) until last year? If they were covering for fucking asbestos who knows if they’re covering or apologizing for other dangerous materials? This is akin to having a health agency say that smoking isn’t that bad – it’s insanity to even pretend that asbestos is safe.

Pretending otherwise doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

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