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Hazard found in home and work-Asbestos Cancer Mesothelioma killed Tammy

Updated on November 28, 2012

THEA died from Asbestos exposure

I was very sad when I went to a memorial celebration for a youthful woman Thea Biel. She was very fit, active in hiking and cycling groups. Thea was an artist energetic,good humored and loved by family and friends.When she was about to die she insisted she be remembered by a happy dance instead of a serious memorial service. I went. It was touching and wonderful.We left in a good mood.

Thea died of mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure. She became ill many years after working in a payroll department. Her department was in an office in a building that was being renovated. All the other departments were moved out during the renovation, but not her department.During the demolition and rebuilding asbestos dust was released into the air which the office workers breathed daily. I now know two other persons dying of this same disease. One was a plumber and one a steel worker. Both were exposed to asbestos dust fibers on the job many years ago. Because it takes so many years to develop mesothelioma the affected person is usually long gone from the workplace by the time they get sick.

Since people often die within a year of getting sick they are often not able to organize support groups nor are they able to lobby for prevention of this disease.

This is what the mineral asbestos looks like when taken from a mine.
This is what the mineral asbestos looks like when taken from a mine. | Source
These are all the locations asbestos can be found in a house.
These are all the locations asbestos can be found in a house. | Source

Asbestos in Homes and Schools

When I went to school in the 50's asbestos was the miracle fiber-cheap, fireproof, mined in Canada and the USA, and all over the world. We were taught that asbestos was good for us.

Fluffy asbestos was used in insulation. It was woven into firemen's clothing. It was used widely as an insulation in building materials. It was made into tiles to clad stylish homes. It was considered ideal because it was light weight, flexible and fireproof.

In the schools asbestos was not only present in construction but it was a children's play material. The teacher poured the asbestos powder into a bowl as we children all gathered round . The teacher then added water, mixed it up, and gave all the little students a lunp to play with. It was cleaner than clay, easier to bake into a hard form. It was easy to paint.. School children made lots of little animals and puppet heads from asbestos. We loved playing with it.

Prevalence of Asbestos

When the Twin Towers collapsed approximately 1,000 tons of asbestos dust was released into the surrounding atmosphere. This is because asbestos was used so extensively in building materials, insulation materials, and infrastructure in the Twin Towers. Presently in North America asbestos use is limited but not completely stopped. It is found in diverse places like in the talc in children's coloring crayons and in cement pipe insulation. Asbestos is also exported from Canada to places where it's use is legal such as India, China and Russia. Because so many of their citizens have died of asbestos exposure it is banned in Europe,Japan,and Australia.

Recently Australi has had a new asbestos scare. Asbestos tiles were considered safe and used extensively in buildings in Australia. However earthquakes in Australia have damaged buildings and released dangerous asbestos dust into the ait. This puts many people who live in and near these buildings at risk.

Jan stopped Asbestos Exposure

One of my friends worked as the first aid attendant in a manufacturing plant in the town of North Vancouver the late 1970's. Jan noticed the ceilings of the large work area was covered with loose insulation material. This cottony stuff was breaking off and floating down to the floor where workers breathed it in before it was swept up and thrown in the garbage.

"Is this asbestos?" She asked repeatedly.

"No it's not dangerous.Don't worry about it." Was the reply. The union reps didn't want to do anything either.

Finally Jan called the Workplace Safety officials. The safety inspector took one look up at the ceiling and ran out. He returned to do his inspection wearing a respirator and a full body protection suit. Since it was too expensive to make the plant safe, it was closed. The workers were furious at the woman who had ended their work, but maybe saved their lives.

canadian pro asbestos lobby may lose funding

Canadian Pro-Asbestos Lobby Group to Have Federal Funding Dropped

While Canada still refuses to take a hard-line stance against the asbestos industry or the use/exporting of its products, a change in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year may be a step in the right direction towards more significant moves down the line.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, the spending estimates for the upcoming 2011-2012 budget do not include federal funding for The Chrysotile Institute, a pro-asbestos lobbyist that has been functioning since 1984. Among the Institute’s objectives listed on its website is a pledge to “promote the adoption and application of appropriate prevention and control measures, regulations, standards, work practices and techniques for the safe use of chrysotile.” Chrysotile is a newer name for white asbestos, the inhalation of which has been documented as a cause of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

In the current budget, which ends on March 31, the Quebec-based Institute is receiving $250,000 in federal funding.

The decision to cut funding came one month after 24 separate health organizations wrote to Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty urging him to cut federal funding to all pro-asbestos groups. With the money currently being given to the groups, the organizations requested that it be used to create a timetable that would phase out asbestos use and exporting, create a public registry listing buildings that contain asbestos, and help families affected by asbestos exposure, among other things.

"Chrysotile asbestos is the only form of asbestos sold today and, like all forms of asbestos, it is known to cause cancer and other disease," the cancer society said,” read a portion of the note written by the Canadian Cancer Society, according to the Citizen.

For those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer that can be linked to asbestos exposure caused by a product or former employer, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney to learn more about your rights, and to see if pursuing a mesothelioma settlement is in your best interest.

Ban Asbestos Now!

Help the cause and get asbestos banned today! Visit our site to write Congress, share your story and read others, and pass this campaign on to others.

Related Resources

Canadian Conservatives question safety of Asbestos

In the Canadian Parliament the opposition NDP party recently brought forth a motion to declare asbestos a dangerous substance. In Canada asbestos use is illegal, however since Stephen Harper's majority Conservative government wishes to continue selling asbestos to India and China this motion was defeated. But several brave Conservative members broke with their party position and abstained from this vote. I guess they felt it was unethical to sell such dangerous material as asbestos to other countries. Unfortunately the leader and majority of the Conservatives still want Canada to mine and export asbestos.


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    • marshacanada profile image

      marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Hi Letita. ManyThanks for your comment, its scary that Canada is still mining and selling such a deadly mineral.

    • LetitiaFT profile image

      LetitiaFT 5 years ago from Paris via California

      This is a very important issue. Many people continue to be unknowingly exposed. Thanks for drawing attention to it through cases you have actually witnessed. It drives home the real-life risk and hopefully people who are tempted to dismiss it too summarily will take it to heart.

    • marshacanada profile image

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      It is a bad government that funds asbestos sales to

      third world countries.

    • mbtreat profile image

      mbtreat 6 years ago

      Just heard of another case. A friends ex-husband is dying from this disease. I am dismayed that our government has agreed to fund the Asbestos Lobby to the tune of $250,000 for this year to promote the sale of asbestos to third world countries.

    • marshacanada profile image

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      I agree and hope Canada stops promoting and exporting this dangerous mineral soon. It has been renamed crysotile-a mixture of asbestos and cement and the manufacturers say it is safe. this is true until the compound breaks down or is crushed. At that time the toxic dust enters the atmosphere and can be breathed in to cause cancer.

    • mbtreat profile image

      mbtreat 6 years ago

      I think the cancer from asbestos is more widespread than we know...I know of 3 people who recently have been diagnosed with mesotheliomia two of whom are now dead. We need to rid ourselves from using this harmful product.

    • marshacanada profile image

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks MB Treat. Some people and some governments

      will do anything for money.

    • mbtreat profile image

      mbtreat 6 years ago

      This was a very interesting and informative piece. I think it's a disgrace that Canada would continue to mine and sell such a harmful product.