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Asbestos takes its toll

The Story


"Three weeks before his death," one widow testifies at the Royal Commission hearings into asbestos in this CBC Television clip, "he was in such pain, he asked that I bring a knife into the hospital so he could end his life." Such powerful testimony hinders the Canadian government attempts to change people's attitudes toward asbestos. Despite industry's efforts, the ongoing health-related lawsuits, protests and damning studies mean that the mere mention of asbestos still makes people uneasy. By the 1980s, the once booming asbestos industry has shrivelled up and countries such as Sweden have already imposed a ban. In an attempt to resuscitate the rapidly weakening asbestos industry, the federal government establishes The Asbestos Institute, a non-profit organization promoting the safe use of white asbestos (chrysotile) in 1984.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: May 7, 1984
Guest(s): Gus Glaser, Dwight Oland
Reporter: Dale Goldhawk
Duration: 4:07

Did You know?


• In 1976, the newly elected Parti Québécois government announced plans to nationalize Quebec's asbestos industry. After some laboured negotiating the deal was finalized four years later in 1981. It came at a price tag of $16 million. Despite the shrinking asbestos industry, PQ leader Jacques Parizeau insisted the takeover was important as a symbol of Quebec.


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