The True Cost of Asbestos

It was my first really large industry job. Time frame, the nineteen sixties. I wanted to work at Dofasco because I was trying out for their choral group. Poor excuse and or thinking at the time. I was first assigned to work in the scrapyard, but quickly moved to the Ladle repair at the catalytic furnace. The floor of the whole department was silica sand (casting area) and the ladles were repaired using asbestos cement.

Each repair required the asbestos cement by hand. The ladles were always so hot that one was shivering inside the ladle. The repairs were done without any complete instructions. The final days (afternoon shift) was when the crane operator dropped of the repaired ladle in the cooling area and he had to go to the other end on the area. The spot where the ladle was placed – the Safety equipment was not working. The 22-ton ladle was filling up with gas because the pilot flame was out. I had seen the lead hand light a piece of paper and throw it at the ladle. I received all of the ladle gas all at once. I inhaled the heated gas and my eyelids were welded shut.

I have a COPD which the WSIB said is not work related, but the mass that is within my left lung says differently. I have, on a good day, 65+% lung volume. The WSIB said that I have Pleural Plaques which is a Fibrous thickening on the lining of the lungs. (Ref Asbestos.com.) Claim denied.” – Phillip Rimmer

 

If people were asked to describe an asbestos victims, they might describe an older labourer, at the end of his/her career.

It’s certainly true. Canadian filmographer Kathleen Mullen put together a magnificent film. It’s the story of her father, Richard Mullen, who developped mesothelioma after having been exposed to it as a engineer inspecting oil pipes. Richard died in 2003 and his daughter, Kathleen, presents the struggle very poignantly. You can view the 43 minute film Breathtaking for free.

But the reality is that asbestos will kill anyone exposed to it. How people can still get exposed is described in our Exposure section (NEED LINK THERE). That means that anyone and everyone is at risk.

Asbestos Affects Younger People Too

One of the most famous case of a young death is the Leigh Carlisle, a woman from Britain who died in 2008 at the age of 28 after having been exposed either while walking to school were workers were cutting up asbestos boards or while attending school.

Then there is Michael Bradley, an American from Georgia, who died of peritoneal mesothelioma in 2014 at the age 0f 29. Micheal was exposed as a child when he visited the North Carolina landfill where his father worked where asbestos wasn’t disposed properly or safely. His father had the deadly fibers on his clothes when he came home from work.

There are unfortunately more and more stories like these.

In the aftermath of 9/11, when the towers collapsed, they released an estimated 1000 tons of asbestos. World Trade Centre rescuers and volunteers have a 20% higher incidence of cancer than the general public.

It’s time. Help us. Make a Difference. Ban Asbestos, Canada, Now!