**UPDATE! Due to overwhelming response, ADAO’s petition calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Ban Asbestos in the US Without Loopholes or Exceptions will STAY OPEN for signatures. If you haven’t yet, please SIGN and SHARE today! 

Posted on September 29, 2017

For decades, Canadian unions have been at the forefront to stamp out the deadly hazard of asbestos. Last December, when Canada announced its intention to ban asbestos by 2018, our Health Minister said, “When it comes to asbestos, the science is very clear. We’re taking action on this now to protect future generations of Canadians.” The Canadian ban was long overdue, after years of work by labour unions, health activists and families who have lost loved ones to asbestos diseases. It was not easy to get here. The resistance to banning asbestos in Canada was extensive and deeply-rooted in our history as a country with a significant asbestos industry for many years.

Asbestos is the leading cause of workplace-related death in Canada, and kills an estimated 15,000 people every year in the United States. Internationally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports more than 100,000 asbestos-related deaths per year.

Working as a mechanic for 22 years, I was exposed to asbestos contained in brake pads over those years. Because of the long latency period of asbestos diseases, it’s not known yet how this exposure will affect my future health. These same brake pads are still being used today, despite the availability of safer asbestos-free alternatives.

We know there is no safe form of asbestos and no safe level of exposure. Over fifty other countries have banned asbestos, including Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and many others. There are safer asbestos-free alternatives made in Canada and in the United States. Imposing a ban on asbestos imports would pose no trade risks to America. On March 12, 2001, the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a ruling relating to France’s asbestos ban, validating the rights of member states to prohibit the import and use of carcinogens or of goods that contain carcinogenic substances.

When the Canadian government announced that it would ban asbestos, I said that we can now all breathe easier. This is good public health policy that will, without question, save lives for generations to come.

America is our closest neighbour and a great friend to Canada. Both of our countries have lost too many people to asbestos diseases. I hope that you will join us in banning asbestos now to help save future generations from having to face this death sentence.

Hassan Yussuff
President, Canadian Labour Congress