Lawyer Critical Of Canada For Plans To Export Asbestos
A leading asbestos law expert says it is ‘appalling’ that Canada has confirmed that government funds will be used to re-open an asbestos mine to export the deadly dust to developing countries.
The Quebec government is providing a $58 million loan to re-open the Jeffrey Asbestos Mine, one of the largest in the world, and is understood to be intending to export five million tonnes of asbestos to developing countries over the next 20 years.
Illness such as mesothelioma and asbestosis kill more than 5,000 people each year in the UK alone while the World Health Organization says 100,000 people die each year from asbestos-related disease.
The use of harmful white asbestos is banned or limited in more than 50 countries, but the material is widely used in construction in developing countries such as China, India, Russia and Brazil.
Adrian Budgen, head of asbestos litigation team at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “It is appalling that a developed G8 country can make this decision despite the evidence about how harmful the use of asbestos can be. It’s over 100 years since the UK recognised the evil affects of the dust and fibres and Canada’s own health authorities have called for an end to the use of chrysotile, or white, asbestos.
“We have represented many victims of asbestos related disease in their battle for justice and have seen firsthand how distressing it is for families to come to terms with the illnesses associated with the substance. The world is potentially facing a massive illness problem as people still being exposed to asbestos suffer over the next few decades.
“What is truly terrible is that Canada opposes the use of asbestos domestically but is still intending to export the material to developing nations. Often the countries such as India using asbestos in the construction industry have very few regulations on how the material is handled and many workers and young people are being unnecessarily exposed. It is simply unacceptable.”