Momentum grows for a national ban on asbestos

29 Apr 2016

Groups across Canada are pushing the government for a total ban on all forms of asbestos. The Occupational Cancer Research Centre has studied the impact of asbestos on the health of Canadians, and has contributed to the campaign to ban asbestos by providing data to groups including the Canadian Cancer Society, Ban Asbestos Canada, and labour organizations such as the Canadian Labour Congress.

Asbestos is the commercial name for a group of six naturally-occurring mineral fibres. It causes lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other health effects. Preliminary results from the OCRC’s Burden of Occupational Cancer in Canada study show that approximately 1900 lung cancers and 430 mesotheliomas are attributed to occupational asbestos exposure each year in Canada, based on 2011 cancer statistics.

Each year on April 28th, Canadians honour the thousands of workers who have been killed, injured, or suffered illnesses as a result of occupational incidents and exposures. Respect is also paid to the families and friends who have been affected by these tragedies. The day serves as a reminder that workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses are preventable. This year, many groups across Canada chose to commemorate the Day of Mourning by pushing for a total ban on asbestos. Below are some of OCRC’s asbestos-related resources, and media coverage of the Day of Mourning and the campaign to ban asbestos. On May 10, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government has made a commitment to move forward on a ban.

OCRC Resources

  • Asbestos: burden of occupational cancer fact sheet
  • About Burden: more information on the Burden of Occupational Cancer in Canada study and how burden is estimated for asbestos
  • Mesothelioma cases in Ontario continue to rise: an Ontario Cancer Fact showing the rising trend in the number of mesothelioma cases diagnosed each year in Ontario
  • Making the Link: an OCRC study investigating ways to raise physicians’ awareness of the link between occupational exposure to asbestos and respiratory cancer, and assist workers in reporting to the workers’ compensation boards
  • From Awareness to Action: a qualitative case study investigating how different industry sectors within the community of Sarnia mobilized in the 1990s to help workers exposed to asbestos

Asbestos in the News