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Quebec study raises concern on asbestos handling

By The Canadian Press

| www.cos-mag.com

Research conducted by health officials in Quebec has found that incidence of asbestos contamination at worksites remains high despite protocols aimed at limiting exposure. Overall, 43 per cent of sites sampled had concentrations that met or exceeded Quebec's relatively high exposure limit.

A new study by Quebec's Public Health Department raised anew questions about safe handling of cancer-causing asbestos — even by workers who take precautions.

The study examined 3,000 air samples taken from worksites that were considered at elevated risk for asbestos exposure. It found that 43 per cent of the sites had concentrations of the cancer-causing fibres that met or exceeded the limit.

A Quebec health official says that despite availability of laws, inspectors and protective gear to help protect against asbestos exposure hazards, it is still difficult to stay within the norms.

The Public Health Department study highlights that Quebec's occupational asbestos exposure limit allows for 10 times more airborne fibres than other Canadian provinces. And it's 100 times more than some European countries.

Despite asbestos being linked to deadly diseases and cancer, such as mesothelioma, supporters still say it can be used safely, even in developing countries.

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