The Canadian government plans to enforce a partial ban of asbestos and asbestos products by the end of the year. Curiously, the proposed environmental regulations would outlaw both amphibole and chrysotile asbestos. Although amphibole asbestos has been shown to be unsafe, chrysotile asbestos, the only form of the naturally occurring mineral currently in use, has been proven to be safe and reliable. The Trudeau administration will be accepting public comments on the proposed ban until March 22nd.
Health and Environment
The Trudeau administration has stated that the proposed ban of asbestos will protect both the environment and public health. Nevertheless, widely accepted scientific research indicates that there is no sound reason to ban all forms of asbestos from the Canadian economy. Chrysotile asbestos has many important applications, including lining automobile brakes, strengthening building materials and manufacturing fire-resistant products.
The government’s proposed asbestos regulations include a surprising number of exceptions. If the government truly believes that all forms of asbestos pose a significant hazard to health and environment, why has the Trudeau administration included exceptions in the proposed regulations? The failure to distinguish between safe and unsafe asbestos products seems somewhat disingenuous. Not only is chrysotile asbestos safe and effective, the proposed regulations do not make any attempt to remove or replace existing amphibole products from homes and businesses. The environment and public health would still be at risk.
Amphibole asbestos products can definitely harm the environment and public health. That’s why the amphibole category of minerals was banned decades ago. Chrysotile asbestos, on the other hand, is derived from a completely different group of minerals. Chrysotile, or White asbestos, has been used successfully in Canada for many years. The important distinction between amphibole and chrysotile minerals is not mentioned in the proposed regulations.
The failure of the government to distinguish between amphibole and chrysotile asbestos has misled the public into believing that all asbestos products are unsafe. Chrysotile asbestos has been scientifically proven to be safe for the environment and consumers when handled properly. Modern manufacturing techniques have made it possible for chrysotile asbestos to make thousands of consumer products safer and stronger. There is no legitimate reason for the government to outlaw all forms of asbestos.
As mentioned previously, the Trudeau administration has included a number of exceptions in the proposed asbestos ban. Mining companies, for example, would be allowed to keep leftover asbestos laden materials and asbestos residues on the premises. Canadian businesses will also be allowed to use and import sodium and chlorine that contain asbestos at least until 2025. The exceptions reveal that the government understands that White asbestos does not pose an actual danger to the environment or public health.
Another exception to the proposed ban is a provision that allows museums to import and use asbestos in museum products. Although the museum exception is somewhat minor, it has provided an opportunity for political opponents to criticize Prime Minister Trudeau’s approach to fashioning legislation. One has to wonder why Canadian manufacturing and workers are not worthy of the same consideration.
The Trudeau administration has been frequently criticized for crafting hollow legislation designed to improve the government’s image. The proposed ban of White asbestos only adds credence to this shortsighted tendency. Banning all forms of asbestos will lead to a loss of jobs, less effective products and higher prices for Canadian consumers.
Shruti Gupta is a writer, digital marketer and outreaching expert. She writes about technology, startups & other niches. She has contributed to a number of famous websites like Thenextweb deccanchronicle and Crazyegg. Stay tuned with her at:@shruti_gupta01 or via skype : shrutigupta2811