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    :: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 ::

    Asbestos exposure will kill 300 workers a year: survey - By Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun via Doctor Petersen at Mesothelioma Information
    Wayne Peppard, executive director of the construction trades council, said in an interview that asbestos exposure illness and mesothelioma [a type of cancer in the lung] is now epidemic and that 1,500 workers in B.C. will die of it in the next five years.

    He said their survey is based on an analysis of preliminary WorkSafeBC [formerly the Workers’ Compensation Board] statistics and the latest research at the UBC School of Environmental Health.

    Peppard said their review takes into account that many mesothelioma fatalities are missing as WorkSafeBC statistics only register and track their own accepted cases.

    “A lot of the cases go undiagnosed. If a worker is a smoker and doesn’t indicate they’ve been exposed to asbestos, there’s no reason for the doctor to suspect it.

    “This is a serious epidemic and it won’t be going away very quickly, especially if the federal government and Quebec continue [allowing] it to be mined.

    “We know that many mesothelioma fatalities are not recorded in the statistics, nor are many lung cancer cases that are caused by asbestos exposure,” Peppard said. “This carnage from asbestos related fatalities is disastrous for those workers and their families.”

    The 60-year-old Peppard, himself a plumber for 37 years, is now being tested for possible disease caused by his lengthy exposure to asbestos.

    “I’m starting to lose my breath, so I’m a little concerned,” he said. “I’m getting tested now. I can remember pulling asbestos off boilers and pipes. I went home coughing the stuff up.”

    He said asbestos is still used in B.C., including in some house siding products, and roofing and paving materials.
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