WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), representing thousands of asbestos victims, physicians and scientists around the world, urges the Canadian Parliament to oppose the Quebec government’s $58 million loan guarantee that would enable Jeffrey Mine Inc. to open a new underground asbestos mine in Asbestos, Quebec. Although, the company's present open-pit mine has run out of asbestos, with this government subsidy, the Jeffrey Mine will be able to export 200,000 tons of asbestos – a well-documented, highly carcinogenic toxin – annually to developing countries for the next quarter of a century.
Asbestos is a known human carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure. The World Health Organization estimates the mineral, regardless of the type, causes 107,000 preventable deaths each year around the world. No reputable health agency has ever identified a concentration of asbestos that will not negatively affect health. These agencies include the U.S. Surgeon General, Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, and International Programme for Chemical Safety.
Over 55 countries have banned asbestos. Although asbestos has not been mined in the United States since 2002, exposure continues as we do not ban the import of the mineral. The US Geological Survey (USGS) reported, “the United States is dependent on imports to meet manufacturing needs. Asbestos consumption in the United States was estimated to be 1,100 tons, based on asbestos imports through July 2011. Roofing products were estimated to account for about 60% of U.S. consumption.”
“ADAO is appalled at the recent development whereby the Quebec Government has provided $58 million to jump-start the Canadian Asbestos Industry,” said Richard Lemen, PhD, MSPH, Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS (Ret.) & Rear Admiral (Ret.) and ADAO Science Advisory Board Co-Chair. “After a century of knowledge concerning the health effects of asbestos and its devastating trail of disease and death around the world, such an initiative by Canada is a giant misstep backwards. By offering this subsidy, Quebec is endangering thousands of lives, both in Canada and worldwide.”
In a news article Canadian Medical Association president Dr. John Haggie of Gander is quoted as saying: “I can't really understand the decision in terms of health. Chrysotile, which is the asbestos the Jeffrey Mine produces, is a killer. The number of people whose deaths are attributable to this - and they are all in Third World countries 'cause nobody here will use the stuff - is the same as a jumbo jet of people crashing every day the year around. That's a huge number. So from a health prospective, I can't understand it.”
“As a mesothelioma widow, I am appalled by the support the Quebec Government has given this deadly material. The Canadian Government should rescind this loan guarantee and send a global message that the distribution of asbestos, a known human carcinogen in all forms, is unacceptable,” said Linda Reinstein, President/CEO and Co-Founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. “It is time the National Government of Canada takes a leadership role in curtailing the worldwide pandemic of asbestos-related disease and death by stopping the mining and exportation of asbestos from its country.”
About Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) was founded by asbestos victims and their families in 2004. ADAO seeks to give asbestos victims and concerned citizens a united voice to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure. ADAO is an independent global organization dedicated to preventing asbestos-related diseases through education, advocacy, and community. For more information, visit www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org.