New rules have come into effect in Canada that ban the import, sale and use of asbestos, as well as the manufacturing, import, sale and use of asbestos in most products containing asbestos.
In force as of December 30, 2018, the ban applies to products that are already in a company’s inventory and prevent businesses from acquiring any new products with asbestos. In addition, the export of asbestos and asbestos-containing products is now prohibited, with a limited number of exceptions.
The regulations do not apply to residues left from mining asbestos. However, these asbestos-mining residues cannot be sold for use in construction or landscaping without provincial authorization, and they cannot be used to make a product that contains asbestos. The mining of asbestos in Canada ceased in 2011.
Asbestos was declared a human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 1987, and can cause diseases including asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
“When it comes to asbestos, the science is clear: breathing in asbestos fibres can cause serious health problems, including cancer,” said Ginette Petitpas Taylor, federal minister of health, when the ban was announced in October 2018. “These regulations will help protect Canadians by ensuring that there is no market for asbestos or products containing asbestos, in Canada.”
Reported by Leslie Burt, Chemical Matters