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Asbestos exposure is Canada’s leading cause of workplace death, and only through strong national action can Canadians be protected.
Worldwide an estimated 107,000 people died from asbestos-related diseases each year. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified all forms of asbestos as carcinogenic to humans in 1987 and reaffirmed this classification in 2009.
With the announcement in December 2016, Canada will finally join more than 50 countries worldwide that have already banned the use of all forms of asbestos, including Australia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The World Health Organization has declared that ‘the most efficient way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases is to stop the use of all types of asbestos.’
By banning new products and future use we can ensure that exposure will decrease with time. However it will not eliminate all exposure. Asbestos is unfortunately already built into many homes, offices, and public buildings as a result of past use. Its complete removal will take many years, emphasizing the need for building registries and other policies to keep Canadians, including those who are exposed to asbestos at work, safe.