|Jeffrey Mine in Asbestos, Que. (Nathalie Hurdle/QMI Agency) |
Canadians should have an open registry of all private and public buildings that contain asbestos so they can protect themselves, says the Canadian Cancer Society.
Asbestos was widely used in the construction of homes and buildings for decades until the 1980s, when strong evidence emerged that it is carcinogenic. Health Canada says significant exposure to asbestos can cause asbestosis (scarring of the lungs which makes breathing difficult), mesothelioma (a rare cancer of the lining of the chest or abdominal cavity) and lung cancer.
The Canadian Cancer Society estimates there are still nearly a quarter of a million homes in Canada insulated with asbestos-containing materials that could pose a risk if exposed during demolition or renovations.
In a poll conducted for the cancer charity by Environics, 82% of respondents agreed there should be a registry, and 78% it should be the federal government's responsibility. Almost half of those polled said they knew little to nothing about how to protect themselves from exposure to asbestos.
The Canadian Medical Association also supports a public registry.
Poll results are based on a telephone survey of 1,000 Canadian adults between Sept. 10 and 15. The margin of error for a sample of this size is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
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