As a physician with occupational medicine training and experience, I found the letter [Refocus the lens, June 2012, p. 3] very disturbing.
I have witnessed the pain of asbestos victims slowly choking to death as their lungs solidify. I have seen a video of female workers in China making rope from asbestos fibres. It looked like feathers flying in a chicken-plucking factory, the only “protection” a knotted handkerchief over the lower face.
Exposure to asbestos fibres is a death sentence. According to the World Health Organization, 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos in the workplace and more than 105,000 die every year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma or asbestosis. All are caused by inhaling asbestos fibres.
Asbestos is banned in Canada, and millions have been spent removing it from buildings. Yet to save a couple of hundred Canadian jobs, the export of asbestos has been vigorously promoted by Chretien under the Liberals and by Harper under the Conservatives. This reminds me of Iceland promoting the slaughter of whales to preserve fewer than 70 jobs.
Are a few jobs worth it to export lingering deaths to the developing world? Jesus commanded us to love our neighbours as ourselves.
Dr. Rodney Glynn-Morris