City of Calgary taking asbestos scare far too lightly

The Alberta Federation of Labour today accused the City of Calgary of treating the discovery of asbestos-contaminated asphalt throughout its road system far too casually.

"Asbestos is one of the worst workplace killers in Canada," says AFL President Gil McGowan, "and as far as labour is concerned, no amount is safe for human exposure."

McGowan points out that under Part IV of the Occupational Health and Safety Code, there is a section detailing how to deal with asbestos contamination, including measures for both worker and public safety in circumstances where asbestos may be released.

"Calgary should not be dismissing this as something that can be dealt with by a study later in the summer," says McGowan. "Inhalation of asbestos dust and fibre can lead to asbestosis, pleural plaques, lung cancer and mesothelioma, a malignant cancer whose only known cause is exposure to asbestos."

"Calgary should be taking exactly the same precautions that the City of Toronto is taking under similar circumstances," advises McGowan, "including limiting workers exposure during road construction with hazmat suits, keeping dust down, and ensuring that citizens know the risks and counter-measures that should be taken."

"I also think that every other municipality in the province engaging in major roadway construction and resurfacing should take immediate steps to ensure that their projects are either asbestos-free or being done with necessary safety precautions."

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For more information contact:

Gil McGowan, AFL President @ 780.483-3021 (office) or 780.218-9888 (cell)

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