Canada’s Jeffery asbestos mine has found a second calling. Scientists from the CSA or Canadian Space Agency have determined that the defunct asbestos mine is an ideal location for a training ground for future Rover missions in the exploration of Mars. Methane gas is prevalent at the site and so practicing the gathering of such gas on the Red Planet is facilitated. Moreover, because methane and water are indicative of life, testing to see if life is feasible on Mars can be conducted. Although not nearly as lucrative as the asbestos producing mine, Ol’ Jeffrey earned a respectable three-quarters of a million dollars in its new-found profession.
Canada was once one of the biggest suppliers of asbestos to the United States. Despite the significant health hazards associated with the use of asbestos, the U.S. continues to import asbestos and asbestos containing products. Now that Canada has turned its last surviving mine into a virtual Mars, who will pick up the slack? Canada’s asbestos export sales totaled about $100 million per year and was primarily to the United States.
Maybe Russia: Russia is the number one producer and largest exporter of asbestos. The town of Asbest is home to an asbestos mine nearly half the size of Manhattan Island. Just weeks ago, certain Ukrainian and Russian institutes and academies held an “international scientific conference on chrysotile asbestos to examine all scientific data” in Kiev, Ukraine. The conference was meant specifically to oppose the listing of chrysotile asbestos under the Rotterdam Convention by claiming that the science has not been established to show that chrysotile asbestos is hazardous.
Perhaps China: Today, China has approximately 1,000 asbestos mines and production facilities. Although most of China’s asbestos is consumed locally, the new potential market-place may prompt changes. Two major Chinese automotive companies were recently forced to recall approximately 23,000 vehicles sold in Australia after it was discovered that certain auto parts were made of asbestos. China is now the world’s top user of asbestos materials and the third biggest supplier. It does not appear that the government is willing to eliminate such a lucrative industry. Will the United States be seeing even more of the ever popular made in China label? Will it now take on a new meaning as it is accompanied by a warning label that alerts the consumer to the fact that the product contains asbestos?
At this point in time, it would seem that so long as there is a dollar to made there will be someone willing to put lives at risk to make it. Protect yourself and those around you by knowing what products you are working with especially if you are working in a high risk trade. Know the details of your home like what year it was built and where asbestos might be found if you are the type of person who will do various repairs, maintenance or remodeling around your own home. And always get regular physical examinations, and talk openly with your doctor about any health concerns.