Statement of the City Council of Sarnia 



The Corporation of the City of Sarnia, on behalf of the community, is calling upon the Government of Canada to ban the use and export of all asbestos. We request that the government take action to make the Canadian people aware of the many sources of exposure to asbestos that exist across the country. We also request that the government put in place a program to ensure that there is a just economic transition for communities that will be negatively impacted by the ban.

This community has a wealth of knowledge and expertise regarding asbestos related illnesses gained through our experience with occupational and environmental exposure. We feel that it is our duty to allay the risks to others and to raise our collective voice to demand that our government act responsibly on our behalf.

We know that 34 countries have already banned asbestos (e.g. mining, use, import, export) because it is understood that even with great vigilance and demanding regulations, asbestos exposure will occur. Asbestos used today poses a risk not only to its handlers, but also to generations of homeowners, students and workers who may come into contact with it at a later date

In our own community students, teachers, industrial and trades workers are periodically exposed to asbestos that was used in various building applications. In March of 2000 students and teachers at a local school were exposed during the installation of a cable along a false ceiling, thought to be a minor procedure. In July of 2000 it was reported locally that 72 pipefitters had been exposed to asbestos during routine duties over the previous year. Many homes in our community contain asbestos, installed as an insulating material. There is no requirement for disclosure of this substance to potential buyers. It is with this knowledge that we ask the federal government to ban asbestos rather than continue in its practice of permitting its use in Canada and of exporting it to countries that may be less able to regulate or monitor itís handling and use.

The toxicity of asbestos is not in doubt. This includes chrysotile asbestos that Canada continues to mine and export. All asbestos exposures increase the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the lung lining. We know about mesothelioma because in our community (Lambton County) the disease occurs at five times the expected rate.

Canada is a leading exporter of this highly toxic and unmanageable mineral. It is on behalf of our own victims and the estimated 100,000 persons, and their families worldwide who will die prematurely from asbestos related diseases each year that we ask the federal government to ban this substance. It is also in this spirit that we will lend our support to all countries and communities that are struggling to live with and to limit the impacts of asbestos.

September 28, 2001



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