revised & updated September 2012
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Ottawa, September 2012
Heartless Harper Finally Caves, Sensing Possible Political Loss
Prime Minister Harper finally folded like the cheap lawn chair he is. Of course, being a secretive slimeball, Harper got one of his creepy minions to make the anti-asbestos announcement. Canadians will NEVER hear Harper admit error.
Reporter Ingrid Peritz summed it up succinctly in the Globe & Mail on September 22, 2012 : “Last week, federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis said Canada was dropping its long-standing opposition to asbestos’s inclusion on the list of hazardous materials under United Nations guidelines. The announcement came after Quebec Premier Pauline Marois pledged during last month’s election campaign to cancel a $58-million government loan to revive Asbestos’s Jeffrey Mine.”
Ungrateful dinosaur Marois won the election. BFD. Third-world children, who might have been protected if Stephen Harper had possessed one ounce of compassion, well - - - some of those children died, puking blood from little lungs corrupted by toxic asbestos, bought from Canadians subsidized by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.
But, battling the virulently anti-science know-nothingism, the total denial of current scientific proof by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government is not over yet. As Kathleen Ruff, author of Exporting Harm: How Canada Markets Asbestos to the Developing World, wrote in the Toronto Star, Sept. 23, 2012:
“The Harper government is the only one in the western world that continues to deny scientific evidence on the threat asbestos poses to health. Not only people overseas, but also Canadians, are harmed by this denial. Health Canada puts out dangerous misinformation minimizing asbestos risk, and federal regulations permit exposure to asbestos fibres at a level 10 times higher than that permitted in other western countries.
The Canadian government allows asbestos-containing products, such as car brakes, construction materials, and even children’s toys, to be imported into Canada, thus putting Canadians at risk. Unlike other industrialized countries, Canada has no national program to protect citizens from asbestos harm.
Canada needs to join the more than 50 other countries that have banned the mining, use and export of asbestos. Until it does, Canadians will, often unknowingly, continue to be exposed to asbestos and many will die painful deaths as a consequence.”
If you would like to review the criminal cynicism of Stephen Harper, read this page.
Canada’s new Conservative government
returned to Ottawa last November, powerful and sneaky as ever. Any modest anachronisms in this piece are due to the fact that I began it in November of 2008 and, four long toxic years later, Prime Minister “Sneaky Steve” Harper is still letting Canada tell lies about our most toxic export, asbestos. We can’t use it in Canada to build homes but it is perfectly okay for Canada to export the lung-poisoning asbestos to third-world countries. Screw the wogs! Why, they're not even white, are they, Harper?
Difficult as it may be to believe, the government of Canada under Stephen Harper actively sends diplomats and officials scurrying like lying rats all over India and Thailand and Indonesia to assure semiliterate innocents that it is safe to house their vulnerable children in homes in which Canadian asbestos lurks ready to induce lung cancer. This isn’t a matter of opinion. Even the usually fraidycat Canadian Medical Association Journal has come out with a dead-clear denunciation of Canadian asbestos.
illustration of the Government of Canada's Official Asbestos Policy
Read my article below to see precisely which cancers asbestos causes. Or should I say, the cancers Canada's Stephen Harper allows to flourish.
The coverup about asbestos is to save the one-industry Quebec town of Thetford Mines. The one industry is asbestos. The cover-up is part of Prime Minister Harper’s continuing attempt to coddle Quebec in its cradle as the demanding baby of current Canadian confederation, a baby that screams, “Gimme. Gimme. Gimme,” but has no plans to give back anything in return. It’s just that, this time, the cradle is crammed with asbestos fluff that floats on its deadly flight into the lungs of third-world children.
As Don Martin wrote recently in the National Post (Oct 24/08): “A study by international experts into the cancer risks of asbestos, commissioned with tax dollars by Health Canada, has evolved into a conspiracy of silence that's galling even by this government's paranoid standards of secrecy.
The 4,000-word study was submitted to Health Canada in March for vetting. It still remains classified as confidential pending the completion of the review, even though its findings would be useful at the global conference.” He refers to a conference in Rome this week where Canada was expected to continue trying to block other countries from banning asbestos.”
The Pictures in the Ottawa Mirror Are Sneakier Than They Appear.
This is the government you elected Canada, so get used to another four years of vileness, for Harper has gathered round him once again the Cabinet of Thugs, including The 4 Harrismen of the Apocalypse, a familiar circle of bullies plucked from the crew created when Mike Harris took eight years to destroy Ontario.
The whole sick cabal of sneaks and neocon liars came back: the malignant Irish dwarf Flaherty, a traitor who bad-mouths his own province of Ontario; the hypertrophied stumblebum behemoth John Baird, the oaf who can't talk fast and can't talk slow; the automaton Tony “What? Me Feel?” Clement.
Have you ever paid serious attention to Tony Clement's political statements and defenses of Conservative policy over the years and not felt a frisson of revulsion creeping up the back of your neck? There is an ice cube where Clement’s heart should be. Clement could be the poster boy for a whole chapter in a psychology textbook, the chapter entitled “Lack of Affect.”
And Canada’s new Environment minister is Jim Prentice. So we know those tar-sands’ tailings ponds are safe. Fuck a duck, right, Jimbo? An environment minister might logically be expected to consider asbestos toxicity. Have Canadians heard even one syllable that was not blindly partisan from Jim Prentice? No.
Then let Canadians, concerned about asbestos export, seek action from our federal Ministry of Science.
In charge of that complex and serious portfolio Stephen Harper has placed an evolution-denying, born-again chiropractor.
Last week and this week, reporters asked this minister, Gary Goodyear, about his belief in evolution. This so-called graduate of the University of Waterloo could barely frame a cogent answer. Listening to him try to respond was truly frightening. It was obvious he did not understand evolution and Goodyear could barely put together a sound sentence.
Stephen Harper has placed in command of a delicate portfolio, upon which depends the future of Canadian science, a semi-literate chiropractor of breathtaking mediocrity.
But that is the government today in Canada: a herd of run-of-the-mill yesmen who tremble like a cowed herd before the bullying tactics of a control-freak prime minister incapable of delegating the smallest amount of authority to act.
Under Stephen Harper, Canada is fucked.
Our unfuckment will begin when we rid ourselves of his glum burgherdom of Conservative lumpen-nebbishes.
But let’s get back to Canada as peddler of international poison. And let’s examine another story, deeply touching and moving.
When a Quebec Town's Name Turns Toxic
The city of Asbestos is situated in the Eastern Townships of Québec at the centre of a triangle formed by the cities of Quebec, Sherbrooke and Montreal. Asbestos wants to change its name. Asbestos as a town name has become politically dicey, embarrassing, toxic, but chiefly it's a lousy, persistent, economic burden.
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral such as chrysotile or actinolite easily made into long flexible strands formerly used where incombustible, nonconducting, or chemically resistant material was needed, until science discovered asbestos causes cancer in persons exposed to it over long periods of time.
Asbestos has been mined from the gigantic Jeffrey pit for more than 100 years. One of a handful of substances conclusively proven to be a human carcinogen, asbestos causes cancer, big time. Actinolite is a rare form of asbestos whose needle-like fibers make it a potent lung invasive and carcinogen. Other forms of asbestos in the amphobile group are considered especially dangerous because the fibers are hard for the lungs to expel. The amphobile family of asbestos is also more likely to become airborne than the chrysotile asbestos. Asbestos becomes a health hazard when it becomes lodged in the lungs. The major health risks linked to asbestos are asbestosis, a scarring of the lungs; mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung and chest linings; other lung cancers and nonmalignant lung and pleural disorders. Does science feel this? Think this? Science KNOWS this! Want to read medical proof of the toxic potency of asbestos? Begin at this website for Hazards magazine.
But here, for the questing mind to contemplate, is a lateral of a cancerous lung.
In this pleural mesothelioma, a cross-sectional slice of lung from a cadaver, the dense white encircling malignant tumor mass arises, as its name implies, from the visceral pleura.
Mesothelium is a membrane that forms the lining of several body cavities including the pleura.
The pleura is the thin covering that protects and cushions the lungs. The pleura is made up of two layers of mesothelial tissue that are separated by a small amount of serous fluid. This slippery “lung-bag” minimizes frictional wear as one breathes in and out moving the lungs.
One malignant tumor of this membrane is a mesothelioma, a big bulky tumor that can fill the chest cavity. It is almost exclusively caused by the inhalation and deposition in lung tissue of asbestos fibres.
For an excellent overview,
in clear English, of mesothelioma,
its symptoms & treatments,
click below to visit this site:
Now the citizens of Asbestos, Quebec, wish to change the name of their fair hamlet. The word asbestos has become tainted in the public mind with nasty things like tumours and death. Awww! One local Quebec official says it’s all because nitpicky Americans have a phobia about asbestos. Not quite, mon vieux. The word phobia implies an irrational and unfounded fear of something. Fear of asbestos is about as rational and smart as a human being might get. So you can dump the phobia palaver. The danger is real, monsieur.
In 1989 asbestos was banned. Too late, as usual. Widely used during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in various building materials as a thermal insulator for walls, flooring, ceilings, insulation, roofing, fireproofing and automotive products, asbestos dust was also found in packaging and even wallpaper tiles and various other acoustic soundproofing products.
Now that most North American and European construction legislation has banned totally the use of asbestos in human habitation, what have Canada asbestos miners and manufacturers done with 95% of our Canadian asbestos? Guess! Sold it and shipped it off to the third world to use in its building projects, markets in Thailand, Singapore, Brazil, India and other developing nations.
Most of Canada’s toxic asbestos goes to Asian countries. But it’s all okey-dokey, say the many Harper government-sponsored “safety” agencies. The asbestos industry says it promotes safe use of its products, and that the deaths and disease caused by asbestos use in the United States and Europe during the past century will not be repeated elsewhere in decades to come. Modern manufacturing processes are well-ventilated, producing minimal dust, industry defenders say. But medical experts worry that workers in those countries ultimately will develop lung afflictions that will sicken or kill them. Asbestos critics scoff at such safety claims. They cite unventilated factories in Brazil and other places. Some offer as proof slides of children in India exposed to dust produced by men sawing asbestos. Though there is deep disagreement over the current safety of and need for asbestos products, both sides on this debate agree on one thing: Asbestos can kill.
Still we have our petit problème in Quebec. They need a new name to cover up what has been mined there for more than 100 years. Local suggestions include Trois Lacs ( Three Lakes) and the upbeat Phoenix, wherein locals hope the guiltless town will rise again, squawking and flapping its asbestos-dust-free wings as it soars through Quebec skies to glory.
Your humble deponent, Bill Casselman, would like to offer some new names too, just to be hell-pful. How about Sweet Lung, Quebec ? Or Pas de Cancer icette, mes copains? We could go for the nom faux-aborigène. You know, make the town name sound like an ancient Iroquois burial ground and redub it...
Etymology of the Word Asbestos
Merriam-Webster’s Third New International Dictionary,Unabridged (2002) gives a superb etymology quoted below:
“Middle English asbestus mineral supposed to be inextinguishable when set on fire, alteration (influenced by Latin & Greek asbestos) of albestron, probably from Middle French, alteration (probably influenced by Latin albus white) of abeston, from Medieval Latin asbeston, alter. of Latin asbestos, from Greek, unslaked lime, from asbestos inextinguishable, unextinguished, from a- not(alpha privative)- + (assumed) sbestos, verbal adjective of sbennynai to quench, extinguish; akin to Lithuanian gesti to be extinguished, Sanskrit jasate he is exhausted and perhaps to Old High German quist annihilation, Gothic qistjan to destroy, Tocharian B käs- to pass out of existence.”
We'll conclude our modest “asbestolatry” with one final medical diagram for your delectation and perusal. Asbestolatry is my neology; it means ‘worship of asbestos.’ It is used with irony, the same mode God used to create Gary Goodyear.
To the government of Stephen Harper, Canadians have one urgent request:
Do the right thing, Stephen Harper. Stop shipping this poison shit to 3rd-world peoples.
There must be a spicule of moral fibre left somewhere in that monstrous, bloated ego of yours.
Don't give us the photo-ops of you patting your own son on his safe little head, while you carelessly allow third-world children to die a horrible death of lung cancer caused by Canadian asbestos.
And if you are one of those smug vultures who lurk on the overpasses of The Highway of Heroes and think that Canadians are all over the world doing good, wake up and smell the asbestos!
But, of course, don't breathe it in, as little children all over the world are doing.
Start by sending this column to the Prime Minister's office and demand action.
His email address is: email@example.com
Don't expect any action by this Conservative government that might result in Quebeckers losing jobs. The party is deeply loathed in Quebec. Harper is trying desperately to rebuild Quebec, so he won't touch the asbestos question. He will continue to let third-world children die with their little lungs stuffed full of asbestos cancer. This Tory indifference to children suffering should make every true Canadian vomit.
Read this copyrighted CBC story from March 2, 2012
Canadian asbestos poses a health risk in Vietnam
WikiLeaks cable says health and safety standards inadequate to protect Vietnamese workers
by Gil Shochat CBC News
Posted: Mar 2, 2012 7:20 AM ET
Last Updated: Mar 2, 2012 9:47 AM ET
Many workers in Vietnam will "suffer debilitating diseases" over the coming decades from handling asbestos — some of which is imported from Canada, a U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks says.
The January 2008 cable calls asbestos "a carcinogen in humans." It was sent from the American embassy in Hanoi to the State Department in Washington, D.C. and to several American embassies, including the one in Ottawa.
Canada is cited as one of the major exporters of asbestos — along with Russia and China — to Vietnam, which has increasingly turned to the material for use in low-cost roofing material, the cable says. Vietnam is described as having one of the world's highest per-capita consumption rates of asbestos.
"Existing safety and health standards [in Vietnamese factories] are inadequate to protect worker health and few companies follow even these minimal standards….Vietnamese attempts to limit the health effects of asbestos seem doomed to fail due to lack of manufacturing and technical capacity, weak political will, and limited funding and investment," the cable says.
It also states that because more than half of Vietnamese men over 15 years old smoke, the combined health effects of smoking and exposure to asbestos over time will probably be severe. Illnesses could include lung cancer, malignant mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
The co-ordinator of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat, Laurie Kazan-Allen, told CBC that "in places in Asia that are prone to natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes, it’s absolutely nuts to put this stuff into the infrastructure."
Canada and Vietnam vote against putting asbestos on hazardous list
The cable notes that in 2005, the most recent year for which data is available, Vietnam imported over 74,000 tonnes of asbestos.
In June, 2011, Vietnam voted with Canada to block the inclusion of asbestos on the hazardous materials list for a United Nations treaty known as the Rotterdam Convention.
Industry Minister Christian Paradis said Tuesday that the uses for asbestos in the past were not necessarily good but that today "we are talking about safe use and there are memorandums from the industry with customers and they have to use it safely."
Scientists Urge Total Global Ban on Asbestos
(JusticeNewsFlash.com - Featured, Justice News Flash, Mesothelioma Asbestos)
Scientists writing in the International Journal of Environment and Health have called for a total global ban on asbestos. Today, they say, just 52 nations (of the total 194 in the world) prohibit the use, import, and export of the material.
Asbestos has been scientifically linked to deadly diseases including lung cancer and mesothelioma, an incurable cancer that strikes the protective lining covering many of the body’s organs. For years, mesothelioma lawyers, researchers, and advocacy groups have been urging lawmakers in the U.S. and elsewhere to ban asbestos.
Long popular in construction, shipbuilding, automobile, and other industries due to its heat- and fire-resistant qualities, the material can still be found in many buildings, workplaces, and homes.
According to the authors, asbestos accounts for 5 percent to 7 percent of all lung cancer in men and has negatively impacted the health of millions. Nearly all cases of mesothelioma, which kills thousands of victims every year, can be traced to asbestos exposure.
While many nations, including the United States , have laws in place to regulate the use and handling of asbestos, testing and abatement can be costly, and many property owners and employers skirt the rules, potentially exposing others to needless battles with lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Asbestos—which can still be found in ceilings, floor tiles, insulation, and piping—is particularly dangerous when it is disturbed (for example, during a renovation project) and asbestos fibers escape into the air. Asbestos particles that are inhaled can lodge in the lungs, triggering diseases like mesothelioma years—even decades—down the road.
A diagnosis of mesothelioma is particularly grim: Many patients succumb within a year of diagnosis; few survive five years or more. While mesothelioma lawyers have been successful in obtaining large jury awards and settlements, researchers still struggle to find a cure, or even a viable long-term treatment.
Scientists at the respected Collegium Ramazzini in Modena, Italy, authors of the journal piece, note that there are now far safer synthetic alternatives to asbestos—making the current production, sale, and use of the cancer-causing material hard to understand. Canada , in particular, still mines and exports great quantities of asbestos, mainly to developing nations. The Collegium Ramazzini, comprising some 180 physicians and scientists from 30 countries, is a renowned international academic society that examines critical issues in occupational and environmental medicine.
To protect workers and residents in those nations—and elsewhere across the globe—a universal ban, rigorously enforced, is essential, the Collegium scientists write. Currently, they note, at least 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos at work. Many more may be at risk for asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, thanks to the asbestos still present in countless structures, from homes and factories to schools.
(*lawyer marketing)* This news story was brought to you by the mesothelioma lawyers at Cooney & Conway. For more than half a century, we have been advocates for those injured because of the wrongful actions of others. We have litigated and resolved some of the nation’s most significant asbestos lawsuits, bringing justice—and financial compensation—to victims of asbestos exposure and the lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other deadly diseases it can cause.
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© 2012 copyright William Gordon Casselman
To learn more of Canada’s disgraceful stand on asbestos,
check out the website of Ban Asbestos Canada.
Click on the graphic below.
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