Exporting Harm: How Canada Markets Asbestos to the Developing World

Exporting Harm: How Canada Markets Asbestos to the Developing World

By Kathleen Ruff

October 30, 2008

Key Findings

  • Most Canadians are not aware of the international role Canada has played to sell chrysotile asbestos to developing countries.
  • Every independent scientific body in the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Canadian Cancer Society has called for the ban of chrysotile asbestos as it has been recognized as a carcinogen and not safe to use.
  • Chrystoile asbestos has been banned by most industrialized countries.

Some tactics used by the Canadian government to promote the sale of Canada’s asbestos include:

Giving millions of dollars of public funds to the Chrysotile Institute to promote asbestos sales in developing countries;

Preventing people handling Canadian asbestos from being warned that it is hazardous;

Using intimidation, trade threats and political interference in the affairs of other countries to prevent the banning or regulating of asbestos;

Denying help to Canadian victims of asbestos contamination and exposure; and

Attempting repeatedly to sabotage a U.N. Convention so as to prevent developing countries being informed of the hazards of chrysotile asbestos.

Ruff, Kathleen. Exporting Harm: How Canada Markets Asbestos to the Developing World. October 2008. Rideau Institute.

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