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Asbestos.canada's shame.feb13.2012.ppt2010


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  • 1. The Politics of Asbestos:Canada’s Shame February 13, 2012 Cathy Walker Former H&S Director, CAW SPPH 534
  • 2. Asbestos: Killer Dust
  • 3. We’ve known about thehazards of asbestos sincethe First Century Pliny the Elder reported on Roman slaves having sickened lungs from weaving asbestos into cloth
  • 4. Charlemagne usedasbestos napkins, 800 AD  He threw soiled napkins into the fire and they came out clean
  • 5. Insurance companies stopped issuing life insurance to asbestos workers Cape Asbestos plant in London, England, 1910
  • 6. Asbestos insulationsprayers, 1960s and 70s
  • 7. Union went to Dr. IrvingSelikoff: New York and NewJersey asbestos sprayers
  • 8. Selikoff Examined 1,117asbestos insulation workers  More than 50% already had asbestosis determined by X-Rays  For those exposed more than 20 years, 339 of 392 (87%) had asbestosis  Lung cancers were 7 times the expected rate  Gastrointestinal cancers were 3 times the expected rate
  • 9. Asbestos stopped being usedas sprayed oninsulation, halfway throughbuilding the World TradeCentre buildings
  • 10. But of course there was stilllots of asbestos in theSeptember 11, 2001 dust
  • 11. Do you have to be covered indust to die from asbestos?  The answer is ―no‖  Professors CAUT employed at the University of Manitoba have died from asbestos exposure
  • 12. Where is asbestos in your community? If you don‘t know, find out Where is asbestos likely to be found? In this workplace it‘s in the cladding around the building. But it can be almost anywhere
  • 13. Around beams
  • 14. Ceilings (used for noise aswell as fire insulation)
  • 15. In insulation
  • 16. Deteriorated insulation
  • 17. Around Boilers
  • 18. Around Pipes
  • 19. Asbestos Cement
  • 20. In Ceiling Tiles Canadian school, 2002
  • 21. In floor tiles
  • 22. When asbestos deteriorates itbecomes “friable” (crumbly)
  • 23. What is asbestos?  It is a ―natural‖ fibre found in the ground  It is mined and processed and used to be used in a wide variety of products
  • 24. Two main Asbestosgroups  Amphiboles (straight fibres)  Serpentine (curly fibres)
  • 25. There’s not really a lot of difference Amphiboles  Crocidolite  Amosite Serpentine  Chrysotile:  95% of world asbestos  Includes Canadian asbestos:
  • 26. Excellent Insulation  It is a nearly perfect product for insulation  It is fireproof and virtually indestructible  Great for brake pads and many other products
  • 27. Indestructible everywhere  These indestructible asbestos fibres stay in your lungs forever
  • 28. So how do we protect people? Work closely with health and safety committee members Skilled trades workers are often most at risk They have to work in asbestos-containing areas So they need to know where the asbestos is
  • 29. We have banned the use ofasbestos in major collectiveagreements  We now have to bargain its safe, effective removal
  • 30. Work refusals lead to action on asbestos At airports throughout Canada CAW members exercised their right to refuse unsafe work under the Canada Labour Code Through the courage of these women union members, they protected themselves, their fellow workers and the public
  • 31. Is there a map and isasbestos identified clearly?  Each place where asbestos is found must have a clear label  There should be a map of where asbestos is found in each workplace  But we can‘t always trust this information  If people are working on the ceiling of your work area and dust is falling and you are unsure, insist it be analyzed for asbestos
  • 32. Insist on asbestos removalby knowledgeable firms andworkers
  • 33. Proper Asbestos Removal  Complete enclosure of the asbestos removal area by sealed plastic  Only trained asbestos removal workers to be in the asbestos removal area  Negative pressure in removal area so no asbestos fibres escape
  • 34. B.C. Contractor sentenced to60 days in jail, Jan 24, 2012  Exposed unprotected workers, many of them teenagers  (2009, 44% of all work-related deaths in B.C. due to asbestos)
  • 35. Labour’s Response:  ―An important message is being sent today that if you willfully expose your employees to known carcinogens, you will end up in jail,‖ said BC Federation of Labour President, Jim Sinclair.  ―It is a pretty rare opportunity to see an employer actually go to jail for what he is doing,‖…―These workers face a potential death sentence from cancer, and Arthur Moore will walk free in two months. That‘s totally wrong.‖ Lee Loftus, BC & Yukon Building Trades Council Pres.
  • 36. What about encapsulation(covering the asbestos)?  Eventually, all asbestos will become friable  Every time it is disturbed, it gets into the air  Remove it competently and the problem is solved  If the building is going to be torn down in the near future, crumbly asbestos can be encapsulated
  • 37. Asbestos continues to killFrancis Huggett: $102,450 pluspension; rep Karen Willsey
  • 38. Closed in1988,legacy ofdeathlives on.
  • 39. Holmes Foundry Claims Total Lump Sum $20,000,000 $18,000,000 $16,000,000 $14,000,000 $12,000,000 $10,000,000 $8,000,000 $6,000,000 $4,000,000 $2,000,000 $0 2000-01-01 2001-01-01 2002-01-01 2003-01-01 2004-01-01
  • 40. But what about Canada’sexport of asbestos?  The Chrysotile Asbestos Institute promotes chrysotile asbestos as ―safe‖  Where is our asbestos used in developing countries?
  • 41. CBC News Special ReportFebruary 2, 2012  /02/01/asbestos-study-mcgill.html  ―It is still commonly used in developing countries like India and Vietnam.  The World Health Organization estimates that more than 107,000 people die annually from asbestos exposure worldwide  Ken Takahashi, an epidemiologist affiliated with WHO, recently said that ―asbestos tsunami‖ of deaths is going to hit Asia because of the continued use of the product there.‖  Asbestos worker, India:
  • 42. Conservatives backasbestos export, CBC report  Two Conservative members of parliament stood up in the House of Commons in the past year to say that chrysotile can be safely handled based on studies, some of which come out of McGill:  ―Mr. Speaker, scientific reviews show that chrysotile fibres can be used safely in a controlled environment at the national or international level." — Christian Paradis, federal Minister of Industry and Quebec MP, House of Commons, Nov. 23, 2011.  ―All scientific reviews clearly confirm that chrysotile fibres can be used safely in controlled conditions.‖ — Joe Oliver, Ontario MP, House of Commons, June 20, 2011.  During the federal election campaign last April, Prime Minister Stephen Harper went to the asbestos region in Quebec and talked about the industry.  ―Canada is one of a number of exporters of chrysotile and there are a number of countries in which it is legal who are buyers. This government will not put Canadian industry in a position where it is discriminated against in a market where it is permitted.‖
  • 43. Everybody needs cleanwater, right?  But these pipes deteriorate and break, releasing asbestos  And usually we export only raw asbestos so someone had to mix the asbestos and the cement, usually by hand
  • 44. And asbestos is used in roofsof houses and huts where itcrumbles directly onto thepeople who live there
  • 45. Where is this asbestos roof?
  • 46. Asbestos bags leak
  • 47. Brazilian worker breakingopen asbestos bags
  • 48. Asbestos use in Peru: halfis from Canada
  • 49. Canadian asbestos in Peru
  • 50. Working with Asbestos in Peru
  • 51. Funeral:Asbestos Deaths in Peru
  • 52. These next pictures arefrom Pakistan  From a presentation by Laurie Kazan- Allen from the UK with photos from Noor Jehan of Pakistan
  • 53. Assistant Professor Noor Jehan standing with a worker beside an asbestos dump at theAsbestos, Talc and Clay Crushing unit in Mohmand Agency, Pakistan.
  • 54. Asbestos sheet cutting unit in Mardan City (NWFP) located on the main road in aresidential area.
  • 55. Inside this building is a flour mill; while outside is an asbestoscrushing machine and an asbestos dump. The man in thepicture has worked for 8 years on this machine and was notconvinced of any hazard related to asbestos inhalation or itsmixing with flour produced inside the building.
  • 56. Asbestos Use in India  How little protection there is in developing countries for either workers or for the general population.
  • 57. Ahmedabad, Gujarat India  Manager of an asbestos factory: ―Our factory is so safe that our workers do not need to wear masks.‖  The factory has received an ISO 9002 rating from a British company.  Broken asbestos pieces are used to fill up areas as driveways where vehicles enter the distribution area.
  • 58. There is a water spray on the blade of the circularsaw but the worker‘s hair is white with asbestos.
  • 59. Protesting againstasbestos factory in Bihar:students told their farmerparents of hazards
  • 60. Canadian News: Finally!  picks/asbestos-basics/#clip190469  Dr. Jim Brophy, long-time health & safety activist
  • 61. CBC News: Melissa Fungin India  The National: Canada‘s Ugly Secret, by Melissa Fung, June 10, 2009, runs 15.14  ltheducation/canadas_ugly_secret.html
  • 62. China produces its own asbestos  Conclusions from important new report.   The data from the 37-yr prospective cohort of asbestos workers and 26-yr historical cohort of asbestos miners provided consistent results, showing substantially excessive cause-specific mortality, in particular for lung cancer and respiratory diseases, in asbestos exposed workers/miners.  The study provides additionally strong and valuable evidence for the association between mortality of lung cancer (and all cancers and non- malignant respiratory diseases) and exposure to chrysotile asbestos.
  • 63. Why does Canada supportthe production of asbestos?  Isn‘t is unconscionable?  How can our federal government oppose asbestos bans in other countries, including bringing a complaint against the French asbestos ban to the WTO?  To understand the position of the federal government, you have to understand the history of the union movement in Québec
  • 64. Who are these people?
  • 65. Baljit and Roshi Chadha
  • 66. Roshi Chadha  Mrs. Roshi Chadha is a member of the Board of Governors of the Canadian Red Cross Association  A member of the Board of Directors of McGill University Health Centre  Since 1981, an executive of Seja Trade Ltd., a Montreal company that has for years been exporting asbestos from the open-pit Jeffrey asbestos mine in Quebec to India
  • 67. Baljit Chadha  Mr. Baljit Chadha is seeking to revive the dying but not yet dead, Quebec asbestos industry  is lobbying the Quebec government for a $58 million loan guarantee in order to open a new underground Jeffrey mine  which would export of millions of tonnes of asbestos to Asia for the next 25 to 50 years
  • 68. Québec, mining asbestossince 1879
  • 69. No protection in the earlydays, King mine 1896
  • 70. Women also had noprotection, 1930 Johnsonmine
  • 71. Yet in 1911, insurancecompanies stopped insuringasbestos workers  Because they were dying of asbestosis and cancer  This is a recent asbestos miner showing his X-Ray
  • 72. In Asbestos and in ThetfordMines the towns wereadjacent to the mines andtailings. St.-Mauriceparish, 1950
  • 73. 1949, Premier MauriceDuplessis ruled Québec
  • 74. Le drapeaufleurdelisé, adopté parMaurice Duplessis le 21janvier 1948
  • 75. Duplessis, nationalist orimposter?  Fascist or statesman?
  • 76. In 1949, miners in Quebecwere prepared to fight back
  • 77. Miners in Asbestos andThetford Mines fought back  Against the U.S. corporation, Johns Manville  Against the Roman Catholic Church  And especially, against Maurice Duplessis  They fought for four months  The issues were wages, but especially, working conditions, protection from the killer dust, asbestos
  • 78. Asbestos StrikeQuébec, 1949
  • 79. Asbestos Strike, 1949Who was there?  Jean Marchand, union leader  Gérard Pelletier, journalist with Le Devoir
  • 80. 1949 - 1951, conseiller auConseil privé
  • 81. What did the workersthink?  Globe and Mail, headline, Oct. 2, 2000:  ―Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1919-2000, Still a hero in Québec after all these years‖  Rosaire Drouin, miner, speaking of Trudeau,  ―He was sort of the ambassador for the union. He explained to us our rights against Duplessis." ―  ―He defended the workers. He was good for Québec and Canada. Its a long time since weve seen a good one like that."
  • 82. Duplessis sent ArchbishopCharbonneau to BC becausehe supported the strikers
  • 83. 1949’s legacy remains.Debating anti-scablegislation inParliament, October21, 2003:  Mr. André Bachand (Richmond— Arthabaska, PC)  ―I am from Asbestos.‖…  ―The scabs were the main problem during the strike of 1949 in Asbestos. I am not going to call them ―strikebreakers‖ or ―replacement workers‖; they were scabs. There were fights, and the provincial police were there.‖
  • 84. Québec sovereigntymovementQuiet Revolution reallybegan in 1949 with theAsbestos Strike
  • 85. Québec miners 1975 As you can hear in this CBC Radio clip, patients suffering from asbestos-related illnesses experience shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and persistent coughing often excreting blood: CBC Radio clip: 1975, Thetford Mines, Paul Brodeur, etc. 608-3400/science_technology/asbestos/clip2 Miners still striking in the ‗70s over working conditions
  • 86. Québec mines cleaned upconsiderably after the PQnationalized the mines  Excellent ventilation  Protective measures  Still a risk at work, but not an enormous one as before
  • 87. Tailings are still thereThetford Mines, 2002
  • 88. Just Transition Needed  Relocation assistance for miners and residents  Retraining for workers  Income continuity  Pensions
  • 89. These countries all havesome form of asbestos ban:  Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil (4 states), Chile, Croatia, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lit huania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, N ew Zealand, Norway, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerlan d, United Kingdom, Uruguay
  • 90. Call for asbestos export ban  The Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Quebec government‘s own sixteen Directors of Public Health, as well as numerous other medical authorities, have strongly and unanimously called for the export of asbestos to end and have opposed the re-opening of the Jeffrey mine, saying that asbestos from the mine would lead to loss of life.
  • 91. How can we export deathto the third world?  Chrysotile asbestos – it looks so innocent, but it‘s so deadly
  • 92. Canada Day, July 1, 2009English unionists rideagainst Canadian asbestos
  • 93. It is appalling that this litanyof death be allowed tocontinue  I call on all of you with as much sincerity as I can muster  Keep the pressure on the Canadian government!  Don‘t let us continue to mine and export asbestos, killer dust!  Ban Asbestos!
  • 94. I salute each and every oneof you who has ever carrieda sign like this:
  • 95. It remains for Canada to end its contribution toan epidemic that it initiated and has promotedfor over a hundred years Canadian Journal of Public Health, 2011, Vol. 102, 1.Re: Paradis G. Ban All Production and Export of Chrysotile Asbestos [Editor’s Page]. Can J PublicHealth 2010;101(5):352.Dear Editor: Your organization [Canadian Public Health Association, publisher of CJPH], the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Medical Association are to be commended for having aligned themselves with the United Nations agencies and the European Union in their call for the elimination of the use and exportation of asbestos, and for the proper management of asbestos that has been used, including remediation. It remains for Canada to end its contribution to an epidemic that it initiated and has promoted for over a hundred years. Many millions of dollars have been spent on Canadian institutions that regularly reported to the effect: ―...à part ça, madame la Marquise, Tout va très bien, tout va très bien‖. Denial was the Canadian stance as early as 1912(1) and it continues to this day to be the stock in trade of its public relations lobbyists. Inquiries into the adverse effects of chrysotile by the Province of Quebec in 1976 and by the Ontario Royal Commission in 1984 were effective public relations exercises in that they did not provoke an outcry or impair exports.
  • 96. It remains for Canada to end its contribution toan epidemic that it initiated and has promotedfor over a hundred years (cont’d)  Claims for there being honest intellectual doubt about the  need to operate a worldwide ban were being made by the CMA as  late as 2001 when its Journal debated: ‗Should Canadian health  care professionals call for a worldwide ban on asbestos?‘ Despite  the authoritative opinions of the UN and the EU, the CMA  expressed the need for a panel of experts with no ―significant experience  or interest in asbestos research‖ [sic] to review the public  health implications of asbestos and the efficacy and the hazards of  alternative materials.  A case could be made for Canada making amends by establishing  a Truth Commission serviced by a prestigious ‗panel of experts‘. Its  remit would be to review all the factors that allowed the continued  production of asbestos for over one hundred years, in the face of  accumulating evidence. Such a body could determine the lessons to  be learned from the asbestos epidemic and provide guidance on  how not to repeat history.   Morris Greenberg, MB, FRCP, FFOM. London, England   REFERENCE  1. Department of Labour. Labour Gazette. February 12, 1912.  Letter.