Labour Leader Calls for National Ban on Asbestos
Prince George, B.C.- “We are seeing today, the effects of exposure from days past” those are the words of Don Iwaskow, President of the North Central Labour Council and he is talking about asbestos.Iwaskow, like other labour leaders across the country, is calling for a national ban on asbestos.
Asbestos exposure is deadly, although it can take years for the effects to be felt . “It is a known killer that causes disease, suffering and death, all of it preventable” says Iwaskow.
Last year, there were 122 work related deaths in B.C., Seventy two of those deaths were the result of occupational disease, mainly exposure to asbestos from decades ago.
Iwaskow says 2,000 Canadians die each year from diseases caused by exposure to asbestos “It is the number one cause of occupational death in Canada.”
He says despite the startling statistics, imports of items that contain asbestos such as brake pads and cement pipes are increasing. “The lack of a formal registry of buildings known to contain asbestos puts workers at risk of needless exposure. He says plans for new infrastructure at all levels of government, make it all the more urgent to put a ban in place now to guarantee those projects, roads transit stations and other public places, are asbestos free.
Iwaskow says there are alternatives, such as asbestos free brake pads which are developed in Ontario, asbestos free ceiling tiles are also available. “Substituting for safe alternatives will create Canadian jobs and support Canadian industry.”
He says Canada can take ” a giant step forward with a comprehensive ban on asbestos to make all of our workplaces, homes and public spaces safer and healthier.”