Canadian Contractor

Contractors speak up on Ottawa’s war on asbestos

We asked readers to comment on steps being considered by the federal government to ban all forms of the substance

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March 28, 2018 by canadiancontractor

Last week, we posted about a potential Federal Government ban on asbestos.

Here is some feedback we received about that…

Dennis wants more information
I think further research into this question would be helpful for all of us, not just what a PR firm says. My understanding is that asbestos was an ingredient in drywall and joint compound until the 70’s, and I don’t know that it is causing much of a problem. We do know how dangerous it can be, but sometimes it seems we pay an inordinate amount of attention to this substance when there are many more dangerous compounds and situations around us.

Mike thinks the situation might be exaggerated
Based on purely anecdotal information I have collected over the years, I believe the toxicity of asbestos is overblown. There are a few different species of the mineral; the most common and the most used is chrysotile. Chrysotile dust is believed by some to be no more harmful than any other common mineral, silica. Silica (sand) dust is produced by many activities in the construction industry, 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 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 then silica dust then perhaps we should think again.

Bob feels asbestos represents a serious risk
There is no safe asbestos. White asbestos is also known as chrysotile and exposure creates a serious risk of developing life-threatening illness. NIOSH has concluded that it should be treated with the same level of concern as all other forms of asbestos.




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