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FEBRUARY 19, 2019

One should always be suspicious of all-out crusaders, who know no limit when it comes to promoting their cause. In January 2019, an anti-asbestos activist posted an article on the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA)’s website, bemoaning the fact that the Canadian Government is not imposing stricter regulations, totally banning all form of asbestos use.

The exclusions provided for in the Government’s regulations, which are taking effect in early 2019, aim namely at protecting and supporting sustainable economic development through the deployment of a new industry which looks at exploiting serpentine mine tailings that communities inherited from mining companies. This represents an opportunity to put this resource to good use while creating well-paying jobs regionally.

Alas, anti-asbestos crusaders don’t seem to include employment and the communities’ life in the list of their preoccupations. It’s not in their mission’s job description, no more than those regional communities’ quality of life, or for that matter, that of the citizens of developing countries who use the product. They also display a total disregard for the needs of countries for whom chrysotile represent an opportunity to improve the quality of their water and sanitation infrastructures at a reasonable cost.

According to the article’s simplistic explanations, any form of asbestos exposure will lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer or any other form of cancer. They don’t offer any further explanations on the differences between the various type of fibres, in terms of their chemical structure or their respective degree of dangerousness.

The article avoids specifying that it’s amphibole type fibres who are responsible for cancer, not serpentine – chrysotile ones.

As time goes by, it becomes clearer and clearer that the anti-asbestos crusaders’ position remains unchanged, notwithstanding new evidence revealed by the most recent scientific research, based on serious and thorough data collection and analysis.

The ICA deplores that these activists’ life and positions remain stuck in the past, that they refuse to enter a dialogue based on the most recent scientific data and that they choose to stick stubbornly to their original stances and ignore important progress in the use of a natural resource that can prove remarkably useful for communities’ development, while fully protecting residents’ health and safety.