Canadian Contractor


Asbestos dangers overblown?

The fear of asbestos dates back to when workers were exposed to dense clouds of asbestos dust before health and safety standards existed, Mike says

Comment on our story from two weeks ago about a potential Canada-wide ban on asbestos

Based on purely anecdotal information that I have collected over the years, I believe the toxicity of asbestos is overblown. There are a few different types of the mineral and the most common (which is also the most used) is chrysotile. Chrysotile dust is believed by some to be no more harmful than another common mineral, silica. Silica (sand) dust is produced by many activities in the construction industry such as in the production, installation and maintenance of concrete products.

The unique properties of chrysotile make it a valuable product. Much of the “hype” of its danger was created when workers were exposed to dense clouds of asbestos dust generated during the refining process. This was many years ago before health and safety standards existed.
If the product is truly dangerous then it should be discarded, but if it is no more dangerous than silica dust then perhaps we should think again.

Mike A


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