(BBC News: 21st July 2010) Banned or restricted in more than 50 countries, white asbestos continues to be widely used in China, India, Russia and Brazil, and many developing countries. The BBC’s Steve Bradshaw and Jim Morris from the ICIJ report on an industry supported by a global network of lobby groups.
The Jeffrey asbestos mine in Quebec is an astonishing sight. “Big and beautiful,” says one of the regular flow of tourists and locals who peer into its depths from a public observation deck.
Kites glide above the tiny azure pool far below.
Elsewhere in Quebec Province, Janice Tomkins, an amateur watercolourist, is painting birds for the first time. She does not know how many more she will paint because she has mesothelioma – a rare illness linked to asbestos.
Janice believes she is ill because of exposure decades ago to blue and brown asbestos – forms of the mineral now banned.
What is mined in Quebec is a different kind of asbestos – white asbestos or chrysotile – the only kind now used commercially worldwide. Countries like Russia, China, Brazil, and India – although not Canada – use it widely as a cheap and effective building material. (more…)