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Should Canada ban the import of asbestos brake pads?

Categories: Canada

An Ontario MPP is proposing that the province ban the import of brake pads made of asbestos that can produce deadly dust and be inhaled by auto mechanics during repairs.

 Mechanic Adrian Palumbo removes a dusty brake drum from a car wheel in a Toronto garage. (Sarah Bridge/CBC)Asbestos brake pads used to be manufactured in Ontario, but Guelph MPP Liz Sandals says health and safety rules ended their manufacturing in the province. However, some replacement brake pads imported into Canada do.

Statistics Canada says that more than $2.6 million worth of asbestos brake pads entered the country in 2011, representing about nine per cent of the import value of replacement brake pads.

In a statement, Health Canada told CBC News that, "The primary risks associated with asbestos in brake pads would occur during the manufacturing process."

"Science has established that asbestos is only dangerous when fibres are present in the air that people breathe," the statement said. "If asbestos fibres are enclosed or tightly bound in a product, there are no significant health risks."

But Sandals points out that brake pads are designed to break down with normal use and the dust collects in the brake drums, meaning auto mechanics can be exposed to asbestos fibres.

Should Canada ban the import of asbestos brake pads? Let us know what you think.

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: Health

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