The Philadelphia asbestos attorneys at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler are happy to report on two indications that the Canadian asbestos industry may be “losing steam”. First, the Canadian government has recently reversed its standing on the controversial issue of listing asbestos as a hazardous substance. In addition, the Jeffrey Mine in the town of Asbestos, Quebec, recently in the news for a planned government-funded reopening, may remain closed. (Read about the Jeffrey Mine controversy in our previous blog here). Our asbestos lawyers have witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of asbestos exposure – mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related illnesses – and have focused our practice on assisting victims and their families to obtain justice.
Canada’s Industry Minister, Christian Paradis, recently announced that Canada will no longer opposed the listing of chrysotile asbestos pursuant to a United Nations Treaty called the Rotterdam Convention. This treaty was established to maintain a worldwide list of hazardous substances. The Rotterdam Convention is responsible for regulating the importing and exporting of the hazardous substances. The Treaty requires that exporters of hazardous materials use proper labeling, include directions on safe handling, and inform purchasers of any known restrictions or bans. The signatory nations decide whether to allow or ban the importation of the listed hazardous materials in their respective countries; however, signatory nations exporting the materials must ensure that producers within their jurisdiction comply with the regulations.
Canada has been the largest producer of chrysotile asbestos to have a long-standing opposition to its addition to the list. The Canadian government has continually defended its use arguing that when used appropriately, the substance is not harmful. They have been internationally criticized by many other countries, as well as advocates for the ban of asbestos. Interestingly, the Canadian government has restrictions in place about the sale and use of asbestos in their own country and had spent a great deal of time, effort and money into removing the material from buildings around their country, but yet they continued to export large amounts of the hazardous substance to developing countries that are not properly trained or have the necessary resources to protect the health of their workers.
Now that Canada has removed its opposition, chrysotile asbestos will be officially listed as part of the Rotterdam Convention and exporting countries, including Canada, will be forced to warn importers of the potential dangers.
Despite all the embarrassments and public attacks, Canada has recently planned to reopen the Jeffrey Mine, at one time the world’s largest asbestos mine, with a generous loan from the government. With a change in government office about to take place and the announcement that it will no longer oppose listing chrysotile asbestos as hazardous, the incoming Parti Quebecois has also announced their pledge to cancel the loan that would revive the Jeffrey Mine. Ottawa plans to give $50 million dollars to assist the towns that are dependent on the asbestos industry to help expand and diversify their economies.
The asbestos lawyers at the law firm of Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, have decades of experience in assisting victims suffering from asbestos-related diseases. If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos or has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos, lung cancer or another asbestos-related disease, we encourage you to contact our asbestos attorneys to review the circumstances of your case. We will fight diligently protect your rights and recover the fair and just compensation that you are entitled to receive. Our office is conveniently located in downtown Philadelphia and we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We offer free and confidential consultations. Call today to speak with one of our dedicated and highly qualified Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at 215-569-4000 or submit an online contact form.