Canada Enacts Comprehensive Asbestos Ban

Canada’s federal government is enacting a complete ban on asbestos and is promising to craft new regulations that will outlaw the use, manufacture, export and import of asbestos, which has led to mesothelioma cancer in thousands of former construction workers.

The December 15 announcement from Ottawa, Canada also stated that the government will reform building codes throughout the country to ban using asbestos in all construction projects. The pending legislation also will expand the list of federal buildings in Canada that are contaminated with asbestos.

The Canadian government announced a 2018 deadline for all of the new policies to be implemented.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer said that asbestos is a carcinogen in 1987, but it was still be exported and mined in Quebec until 2011. It still is being used in construction and in the automotive industry today in Canada.

About Brake Pads and Asbestos

One of the largest users of asbestos for decades has been the automotive industry. Asbestos was and is still used in many car parts and manufacturing processes today. Asbestos has been used most often in automotive applications to handle heat that is caused by friction where parts are touching each other.

After the asbestos industry became regulated by the EPA in 1987, asbestos use in industry went into a steep decline. However, it is known today that the automotive industry was slower in moving away from using asbestos. This was especially true for brake pads. Brake pads are necessary to slow down vehicles. This means that the brake pads and other parts will experience tremendous friction during the braking process. It therefore is not surprising that asbestos was used a lot in brake pads.

Car brakes were not the only types to use the deadly substance. Railroad brakes and brakes for heavy machinery also used asbestos.

The reason asbestos was used is obvious. When a large vehicle is stopped, the metal temperatures in the brakes can reach 2500 degrees F or more. This would lead to a major risk of fire.

Today, asbestos is rarely used in brakes, and in some cases, brake pads and rotors will smoke when heavy braking takes place. This is common on big tractor trailers.

Most vehicle manufacturers will claim today that no asbestos is used in any friction product they use. This is the case for American and European automotive companies, but many foreign companies do not need to keep to the same rules.

For many offshore companies, there is no regulatory pressure to cease using asbestos in their vehicles. There are not even any international laws that require the products have to have warnings that they contain asbestos. Even worse, many unregulated products that are made off shore are made cheaper and may tempt people who don’t know any better to purchase them.

Fred Clare, the international vice-president of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, and Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), spoke during the last legislative session about the thousands of lives destroyed from asbestos related cancers.

Yussuff worked at a GM plant for years and was exposed to asbestos himself. He said after the announcement that he was happy but wondered why it had taken so long to enact.

He added that politics in Canada are complex and if Quebec was still mining it and making money from it, the federal government would be hesitant to ban it.

Clare worked in the insulation business and he also was exposed to asbestos for many years in the 1960s and 1970s.

At one time, asbestos was used in more than 3000 different applications around the world. The most common uses were in roofing, insulation, cement piping and sheets, flooring, gaskets and brake linings. Today it is believed that at least 150,000 Canadians are still exposed to asbestos at work each day.

Clare’s father and several uncles died from throat cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. He noted that he worked ‘knee deep in the stuff,’ and was mixing it by hand in troughs. Working in insulation, he said that asbestos was all around you and there were no safety precautions taken.

Canadian statistics state that insulators, pipefitters and plumbers were most often exposed to asbestos and suffer many of the devastating health consequences decades later.

Use of asbestos began to decline in the 1980s, but the fibers become embedded in the lungs and asbestos-related diseases can ravage the body as many as 40 years later.

The Canadian government has promised to enact the ban after negotiations with the various provinces and territories are completed over the next two years.

Clare stated that federal regulations still allow using asbestos in brake pads and in pipe insulation, such as are often installed in parking garages.

National support in Canada has been growing for many years. The group WorkSafeBC started an asbestos awareness website in 2011 and has increased enforcement in the last five years.

The City of North Vancouver, which is seeing an explosion of home renovations, has signaled that it will support the national asbestos ban generic levitra online.

A federal building registry designed to list buildings that contain asbestos is being launched. Only Saskatchewan currently has a registry of public structures that have asbestos. This information is important to know for renovators of buildings, and also for first responders in an emergency situation.

Other groups have released statements that support the federal ban. The executive director of BC Building Trades stated that some of the worst hit workers were those who worked for decades in the construction business. The group noted that it is very important that the ban is enacted as soon as possible.