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The town of Cassiar for sale

The needle-like fibres seemed like nature's perfect gift. Fireproof, indestructible and cheap, from the 1940s to the 1970s, asbestos was everywhere. It was woven into clothes, used to insulate buildings and even mixed with water as children's play dough. That was before studies linked asbestos dust with cancer and lung disease. Authorities now say asbestos, when handled properly, poses little risk. But nagging concerns, highlighted by the plight of the asbestos miners, have resulted in a shrivelling industry.

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For more than 40 years, the town of Cassiar at the northern tip of British Columbia revolved around a single resource -- asbestos.
But with the world's shrinking demand for asbestos, the mining town is about to disappear.
Everything is up for sale. From power tools and bulldozers to the town church and even the fire hall, everything must go.

The residents are busy shipping out, homes and all.
The plan is to abandon Cassiar to the stunning wilderness surrounding it, removing all trace of this once prosperous mining town.
. The asbestos mined from Cassiar was shipped all over the world and used in theatre curtains, firemen's protective clothing and on NASA space capsules.
. The town of Cassiar still exists in cyberspace . Many previous residents stay in touch through the virtual Cassiar website.
. In October 2002, Jeffrey Mine, the biggest open-pit asbestos mine in Asbestos, Quebec, closed down.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Sept. 16, 1992
Guest(s): Lee Corran, Carol Lavoie, Brent Palmer
Reporter: Eric Sorensen
Duration: 2:11

Last updated: November 26, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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