Nope, Asbestos Is Still Not Banned in the United States

October 19, 2011  |  Mesothelioma

Hardly a day goes by that someone talking to our law firm about mesothelioma doesn’t say, “well at least asbestos is banned: so no more people will have to suffer from this horrible cancer.” But they are wrong – at least in the United States.

The fact is that asbestos is being imported into the United States even as we speak – with most of that, a whopping ninety percent, coming through our northern borders from Canada’s massive chrysotile mines. Sure, the volume of imported asbestos has decreased from a peak of 719,000 tons in 1973 to a mere 820 tons in 2010, but since one inhaled fiber can cause debilitation and death… why on earth is the United States allowing ANY importation and use of asbestos?

The answer may lie near the source of importation.

According to Linda Reinstein, founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), some newly released documents show that members of the Canadian government were active in overturning the 1989 United States American Asbestos Ban and Phase-out Rule (ABPR).

Quoted is Laurie Kazan-Allen of International Ban Asbestos Secretariat: “Canadian authorities, from the Prime Minister down, colluded with industry representatives to overturn the U.S. ban on asbestos in order to protect the Canadian asbestos industry. The fact that, even 20 years on, the Governments of Ottawa and Quebec are still fronting for this deadly industry is a national disgrace.”

It doesn’t take an economics degree to see that Canada has more than a little financial motivation to keep their deadly mines working away – but that they are playing with the lives of people not only in proximity of the mines but also along the routes of importation, manufacturing and installation of the products that contain the Canadian asbestos.

Given that there are safe substitutes for every current use of asbestos products (primarily roofing compounds, gaskets, brake shoes and clutches), it is more than false economics to allow the continued mining and importation of asbestos.

It is murder – the slow, debilitating way that mesothelioma suffocates its victims.

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