Statement from Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition member Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization.

For Immediate Release: December 15, 2016

A Major Producer and Consumer of Asbestos for Decades, Canada Now Becomes the Leader in Movement for an Asbestos-free North America

WASHINGTON – The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), which serves as a global leader in ending asbestos exposure through education, advocacy, and community, today issued the following statement from ADAO President and Co-Founder Linda Reinstein in support of the comprehensive asbestos ban announced today by the Canadian government:

“The Canadian government made a life-saving decision today announcing they will create a new asbestos ban that will prohibit the ‘manufacture, use, import and export’ of asbestos and asbestos-containing products, such as building materials and brake pads by 2018. Despite closing the last of their mines in 2011, Canada has been a major producer and consumer of asbestos for decades and has seen first-hand the devastating impact on human health. Canada’s ban even goes beyond prohibiting further use or import of the known carcinogen, also committing to a comprehensive asbestos strategy that will lead to establishing a registry of asbestos-containing buildings and implementing a transparent transition. Failing to take the next steps after prohibiting use and imports is akin to putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound. Canada’s impressively cognizant approach reflects a growing trend among governments of not just banning future use but addressing the lasting legacy of asbestos and especially the continuing exposure danger in our built environment and the need for improved detection and treatment of asbestos diseases.

“ADAO has worked with the Canadian ban-asbestos effort since our organization was founded 13 years ago, most recently signing on to an open letter to Prime Minster Trudeau in support of this ban, along with more than 68 fellow stakeholders. While the governance of these two countries is, of course, separate, asbestos knows no borders or boundaries — the challenge posed to North America by asbestos is inextricably connected. ADAO sees this announcement as an opportunity for the U.S. to swiftly follow suit. Recognizing the dangers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently prioritized asbestos for risk assessment and regulatory action, but with decades of research already completed and bans in more than 55 countries, scientifically and medically speaking, the risk assessment is a forgone conclusion. Congress can save the EPA years of work and scarce dollars by passing the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act, joining ranks with Canada in its commitment to protecting public health and the environment from the present and future scourge of asbestos.

“I look forward to a future where one day, asbestos exposure will be a thing of the past in North America and across the globe. As we celebrate this historic moment for Canada, the ADAO team remains dedicated to ensuring a U.S. ban on asbestos follows quickly.”

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