The Lung Association is encouraged by the federal government’s announcement to ban asbestos – a substance that can be a contributing factor to severe lung disease. The Lung Association has been calling for the Government of Canada to adopt a comprehensive strategy on the asbestos issue, including the ban.
“It our responsibility to protect the lung health of Canadians,” says Debra Lynkowski, CEO of The Lung Association – National. “We have been advocating on behalf of Canadians for more than 100 years to ensure that they can breathe freely. It is our responsibility to act and remove any substances or environmental factors from our surroundings that could cause significant harm to the lungs of Canadians. Asbestos is one of those substances.”
A-sbestos was a popular substance used in construction material in decades past. While its use has decreased since the 1970s, it is still present in brake linings, clutch facings and some roof shingles today. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified all forms of asbestos as carcinogenic to humans in 1987 and reaffirmed this classification in 2009.
“An end to asbestos use in Canada is essential for the protection of human health. It is the leading cause of workplace death in Canada.” Lynkowski adds. “It’s great to see the federal government is taking action on this very serious issue.”
When asbestos is disturbed, its fibres are released into the air. These fibres can cause serious health issues and chronic diseases. It should be noted that all types of asbestos are equally dangerous, when disturbed. Asbestos causes lung and laryngeal cancers as well as asbestosis, which is a long-term chronic disease, wherein the asbestos fibres damage the alveoli – tiny air sacs at the end of breathing passages – making them stiff and difficult for lungs to take in oxygen.
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