How Canada Changed from Exporting Asbestos to Banning Asbestos: The Challenges That Had to Be Overcome

Kathleen Ruff


Less than ten years ago, the asbestos industry enjoyed the support of every Quebec and Canadian political party. The Chrysotile Institute and the International Chrysotile Association, both located in Quebec, aggressively marketed asbestos around the world, claiming scientific evidence showed that chrysotile asbestos could be safely used. The industry created a climate of intimidation. Consequently, no groups advocating for victims of asbestos or campaigning for its outright ban existed in Quebec to challenge the industry. A campaign was launched to mobilize the scientific community to speak out. Working with scientists, activists, and asbestos victims around the world, a small group of Quebec scientists exposed the false arguments of the asbestos industry. They publicly and repeatedly challenged the unscientific and unethical asbestos policy of the government. By appealing to Quebec values and holding those in power accountable, the campaign won public support and succeeded against all odds in defeating the asbestos industry. View Full-Text
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