Based on strong scientific evidence, the Canadian Lung Association has determined that:
- All forms of asbestos cause asbestosis, a progressive debilitating fibrotic disease of the lungs.i
- All forms of asbestos cause malignant mesothelioma, lung and laryngeal cancers and may cause ovarian, gastrointestinal and other cancers.ii
- The best way to eliminate asbestos-related lung diseases is to stop its use.
- The mining and export of asbestos should be banned to protect the lung health of all.
The Canadian Lung Association is calling for the Government of Canada to adopt a comprehensive strategy on the asbestos issue, including banning the mining, use, import and export of asbestos, and providing sufficient support and compensation for those suffering from asbestos-related lung disease.
We believe that Canadians must be safe from exposure to asbestos around mines and industries, in their communities, at work, and at home. For those working with asbestos and asbestos-containing products, they should be provided with the proper training and protective equipment.
In addition, the Canadian Lung Association supports the following actions:
- Working with the provinces and territories, the federal government should establish a national surveillance system to track lung health outcomes of people already exposed to asbestos and all asbestos-related disease in Canada. This surveillance system will assess the extent of asbestos-related disease in Canada over an extended period of time. The system must be developed in partnership with all levels of governments and public health agencies.
- The federal government, in conjunction with the provinces and territories should maintain a public registry of buildings that contain asbestos, including buildings on Aboriginal lands, government-owned structures, and privately-owned buildings. This will help to ensure that asbestos-specific health hazards associated with degrading structures are more quickly identified and properly addressed.
- Individuals and communities affected by strategies related to the elimination of the asbestos industry should have the resources to ensure ongoing financial stability. Individual Canadians, labour unions, producers, manufacturers and all levels of government must work together to ensure that solutions are developed to meet the needs of all groups.
- The use of substitute materials to asbestos should be encouraged in order to limit asbestos-related exposures from occurring.
- Research should be continued into ways to reduce asbestos-related exposures in existing asbestos-containing structures.
i Straif K Benbrahim-Tallaa L, Baan R, et al. A review of human carcinogens—part C: metals, arsenic, dusts, and fibres. Lancet Oncol 2009;10:453-454.