Day: October 30, 2007

Canada loves asbestos (in third world lungs)

In a normal world, when something is severely restricted in your country, you would not export it to another country under the pretense that used under certain, very restricted conditions, your product only causes a moderate increase in cancer.

While the federal government projects an image of being a helpful, international Boy Scout on issues ranging from peacekeeping to nuclear proliferation, Canada has a peculiar relationship to asbestos.

globeandmail.com: Asbestos shame

But we don’t live in a normal world, because asbestos is exported from Canada to India where it is added to cement.

Tushar Joshi, a noted New Delhi occupational health expert, is flabbergasted over asbestos sales by a country of Canada’s stature. “As a developed country, you expect more civilized behaviour,” Dr. Joshi says. Canada’s activities are “beyond comprehension,” he adds, calling Ottawa’s promotion of asbestos “a black spot on a sparkling white dress.”

yes, well said. It is very mysterious that asbestos use in India went up in the 1980s just as evidence about its incredibly destructive effects on respiratory systems had curtailed use in most of the first world. Clearly, third world lungs are not as important as Canadian lungs.

Asbestos is one area where Canada lags even behind the US. And Canada’s environmental practices are going to come under increasing scrutiny as climate change unfreezes the great white North and exposes the resources underneath.

Canada, the world is watching.

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