Yvon Vallieres, Quebec’s Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, recently announced that a long promised loan of $58 million would be given to reopen the Jeffrey mines in Asbestos, Quebec. Prior to its closure last year due to financial trouble, the mine exported chrysotile asbestos to India where the asbestos product is used as a composite for cement. The reopening of the asbestos mines will provide 425 jobs for the one-industry town, but approval of a loan has refueled a long standing debate between Canada’s government and world health organizations. Exposure to asbestos is a well-established cause of mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos-related cancers and illnesses. Some consider this loan approval to be a political maneuver, while others consider it to be a national embarrassment. Health officials are asking if the public’s well being and safety is worth the trade off for local jobs and the country’s profit.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a global authority on carcinogenic substances, identified chrysotile asbestos as a known human carcinogen. It causes lung cancer, asbestosis, & mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, exclusively linked to asbestos exposure. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that more than 100,000 people die every year of asbestos exposure related diseases. Quebec has one of highest rates of mesothelioma disease worldwide.
Many of Quebec’s public health doctors consider the re-opening of the mines to be exposing vulnerable workers in developing countries to cancer. Some think instead of using the $58 million to reopen the asbestos mine, the money should be used for research and the development of a safe substitute for asbestos material. The country could then open a factory in Asbestos, Quebec that safely provides employment for local workers and doesn’t condemn innocent victims, on the other side of the world, to an early death.
Canada has yet to list asbestos as a hazardous substance under the Rotterdam Convention, leaving health officials to question the government’s commitment to the public’s health & safety. Listing asbestos as a hazardous substance would force exporters to fill out forms listing the risks and safe handling procedures of those products. Yvon Vallieres & Industry Minister, Christian Paradis, say project officials and companies will have to sign agreements with customers to ensure that asbestos products are handled properly.
If you or someone you love has been stricken with an illness as a result of asbestos exposure, the Philadelphia asbestos attorneys at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler will work hard to fight for your rights to recovery for your injuries. We have the resources to utilize investigators to determine when and where exposure happened and what company or companies are responsible for your injuries. We are committed to securing financial resources so you can obtain the best medical care possible, as well as just compensation for your pain and suffering. Call the offices of Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler in Philadelphia today to discuss the likelihood of our recovery for an asbestos-related illness. We serve clients around Philadelphia, Bala Cynwyd, Merion Station, and Upper Darby, as well as many other Pennsylvania communities, including Chester County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Montgomery County and Berks County. Call today at 800-369-0899 or contact us online.