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Asbestos is the generic name for a variety of fibrous minerals found naturally in rock formations around the world.  It was a popular material used widely in construction and many other industries in the 1970s.
If asbestos fibres are enclosed or tightly bound in a product, for example in asbestos siding or asbestos floor tiles, there are no significant health risks.
Asbestos poses health risks only when fibres are present in the air that people breathe.
The sale of pure asbestos and certain high risk consumer products that are composed of or contain asbestos fibres is strictly regulated under the Canada  Hazardous Products Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-3). The emissions of asbestos into the environment from mining and milling operations are subject to the Canada Environmental Protection Act, (S.C. 1999, c. 33).
When inhaled in significant quantities, asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis (a 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 link between exposure to asbestos and other types of cancer is less clear.
Smoking, combined with inhaled asbestos, greatly increases the risk of lung cancer.
Keep your family safe by following these tips:
  • Get expert advice before removing materials that may contain asbestos.
  • If you think your home may contain asbestos, check regularly for signs of wear or damage.

Protect yourself:

  • If you work in construction and maintenance, determine whether asbestos is present before beginning work and take appropriate precautionary measures. Avoid creating asbestos dust from scraping, brushing, rubbing, or cutting damaged insulation. 

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