Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The true cost of living

I love this country. I love this country for many, many reasons. But (oh and you knew it was coming...) this country of mine has some got a whole lot of dead skeletons in the closet and far too much dirt under the rug. Example of this?

What is asbestos? According to the knower of all things wordy : Merriam Webster, asbestos is:

any of several minerals (as chrysotile) that readily separate into long flexible fibers, that cause asbestosis and have been implicated as causes of certain cancers, and that have beenused especially formerly as fireproof insulating materials.
Asbestos has been found to be incredibly toxic, as Mr. Webster points out. The problem with it is that it takes many years before symptoms of asbestos exposure are felt/seen. But nonetheless, the cancer causing asbestos has been exposed in Canada for many years and has been removed from plenty of schools, with strict regulations regarding exposure and so-called “free flowing particles”. Health Canada has dedicated an entire website to the stuff.

However Canada has been sending asbestos off to “Third World” countries for years, because apparently there lives are of no importance. Now don’t get me wrong. This is horrible. Totally horrible. But it’s not just horrible at the other end of the world. How do you think we get this stuff to send to other places?

We mine it here, particularly in Quebec.

“"The findings of the air, soil and dust samples lead us to conclude that the residential environment in areas near Thetford Mines are severely contaminated by asbestos," the report concluded.”
The report concluded that the people of this community of 26,000 are at an elevated risk of developing asbestos related diseases. Diseases like you know… cancer. Shit like that. You know… the stuff that kills you.

The situation is complicated however because this is a small, resource based community. Many of the community members were actually opposed to having the levels of asbestos in their homes measured. They were opposed to speaking to the researchers. Because their situation, like mining families in Sudbury, fishery families in the Maritimes is precarious and they can’t afford to bite the hand that feeds, so to speak.

So what do we do?

Asbestos causes cancer in those who mine it, those who live around it and those who have it in their homes. But people need jobs and people need insulation and both of these groups of people have been put in situations where asbestos related diseases are the lesser of two evils.

We need to call in Erin Brockovich. She’d set this whole thing straight.


Anonymous said...

Funny you mention this- we just got a notice last week from the building manager saying that there is asbestos in our buildings, but fret not renters, for it is within a safe amount.... which we all know that there is no such thing.

One more great thing about living in a building from the 70's.

Chalk up one more reason to move.


Ren said...

woah woah woah... you have to mine that shit?


What planet have I been living on? Fer realz. When I think "asbestos" I think, like, cotton candy-lurvin' insolation.

Man... I should like, read a paper or something.

Thanks Jules.

William C-Marshall said...

Hey Julie (Or July, not sure how you spell it, I'm assuming Julie, cause you're not a month...)

ANYHOW! Will here, you know, Rens bro. Was reading this post, and I just had to laugh. I mean, how stupid do we have to be to mine airborn cancer? Like come on people, get smart.

Anyhow, I just started a blog last month and would be honored if you would check it out.

Kudos on the exhillirating blog and findings,