Asbestos Awareness Week

From WorkSafeBC video: Asbestos

From WorkSafeBC video: Asbestos

The first week of April is designated as Global and National Asbestos Awareness Week.

Many groups – like the Mesothelioma Center – are working hard to share information on the deadly effects of asbestos exposure. Last fall, on CBC radio, I heard the story of Heidi Von Palleske, who recorded a plea from her mother in the last days of her life with mesothelioma – a rare cancer nearly always caused by asbestos exposure. She asked government and the asbestos industry to end Canadian mining and exports.

The same week I heard about Heidi and her mom, I received an email from Ben Leer, public outreach coordinator for the Mesothelioma Center. He introduced himself and the US-based Center, which according to its website is “a one-stop resource for all asbestos- and mesothelioma-related issues, from occupational exposure to treatment options.”

I wrote about Ben’s introduction and his offer to share any information I might need. I contacted him again this week for his suggestions on what to include in this post on asbestos awareness resources – and here they are:

Asbestos: An Overview of Types, Exposure, Veterans & Diseases

Asbestos Exposure in Jobsites and Occupations


Designating a week to a cause

Global and National Asbestos Awareness Week was designated by the U.S. senate as the first week of April. One group who lobbied hard for this recognition is the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, formed in 2004 to raise public awareness and connect affected workers.

Here in BC, WorkSafeBC released a new asbestos website this year –

The new WorkSafeBC site describes how to handle asbestos safely. If you are concerned about exposure in your own workplace, or want more information, call 604 276-3100 in the Lower Mainland or 1 888 621-7233 toll-free elsewhere in BC. Call 1 866 922-4357 for after hours emergencies.

If you think you’ve been exposed to asbestos (or any harmful substance), this information can help you get medical attention ASAP if needed. It’s alarming to think about these possibilities, but good to know there are options and support in numbers.

Asbestos in the news

“Asbestos campaign aims to halt deadly exposures” from WorkSafe Magazine, March/April 2012

Asbestos in Brakes: One community’s struggle from CBC News, Mar 12, 2012

OHS practitioners urged to take greater role in anti-asbestos lobby from Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine, Jan 4, 2012.


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