Canada Issues Comprehensive Prohibition of Asbestos

The Canadian health ministry, Health Canada, has announced a prohibition of the manufacture, use, import, or export of asbestos and products containing asbestos (construction material and brake pads, for example). The corresponding law will appear in December 2017 as part of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) in Canada Gazette, Part I.

Before then, the ministry wants to collect as much data as possible on the manufacture and use of asbestos and to require manufacturers and importers to provide the related information by the middle of January 2017. The Ministry plans to create new guidelines for health and safety in workplaces and to expand the database of buildings that contain asbestos. As part of the prohibition, building codes will be modified across the country.

The president of the American Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), Linda Reinstein, welcomed the measures, especially because until its last mine was closed in 2011, Canada was one of the world’s largest suppliers of asbestos, after Russia, China, Brazil, and Kazakhstan. Reinstein sees the prohibition as pointing the way for required measures in the United States. The EPA considers asbestos one of the top ten chemical risks that are the first priority for regulatory measures.

The manufacture and use of asbestos is forbidden in more than 55 countries. It has been prohibited in Germany since 1993 and in the EU since 2005.

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