Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once heralded for its versatility and fireproofing properties. It was used extensively in commercial construction and residential buildings throughout the early to mid-20th century, particularly in insulation and flooring materials. However, as the health risks associated with asbestos exposure came to light, its use began to decline. Here’s a brief timeline of how asbestos has been regulated in Canada over the years.
A Short History of Asbestos in Canada
The history of Asbestos can be divided into the following decades:
The 1920s – 1950s: Extensive Use of Asbestos in Canadian Buildings
Asbestos was first mined in Canada in the early 1900s, and by the 1920s, it had become an important part of the country’s economy. It was used extensively in a variety of industries, including construction, shipbuilding, and automotive manufacturing. Insulation and flooring were two of the most common applications for asbestos in commercial and residential buildings during this period.
The 1960s – 1970s: Regulations Begin to Curb Asbestos Use
As more research was conducted on the health hazards of asbestos exposure, regulations began to be put in place to limit its use. In 1969, the Canadian government established the National Occupational Health and Safety Program to protect workers from hazardous materials like asbestos. The program included guidelines on how to work with asbestos safely and required employers to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for exposed workers.
In 1973, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act was passed, which gave the government authority to regulate substances that posed a threat to human health or the environment. As a result of this act, asbestos was declared a toxic substance in Canada in 1988.
The 1980s – Present: Asbestos Use Continues to Decrease
Despite being declared toxic, asbestos continued to be used in some industries until the late 1990s. In 1995, the federal government passed the Canadian Environmental Protection Act Amendments, which placed restrictions on the production, use, and importation of asbestos. As a result of these regulations, asbestos use declined significantly over the next few years.
In 2012, Canada became one of over 50 countries to ratify the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade. The convention requires countries that produce or hazardous export chemicals to inform importing countries about any restrictions or bans that are in place. As a result of ratifying this convention, Canada committed to phasing out all remaining uses of asbestos by 2018.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once widely used in commercial and residential buildings due to its fireproofing properties. However, as studies began to show that asbestos exposure could lead to serious health problems such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, its use began to decline. In 1988, asbestos was declared a toxic substance in Canada under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Since then, its use has decreased as more regulations have been put in place limiting its production, importation, and use. Canada is committed to phasing out all remaining uses of asbestos by 2018.
Originally posted 2022-10-22 16:20:00.