Daily Show 1, Asbestos 0

After months of following the Canadian asbestos debate, the absurdity of the pro-asbestos (or chrysotile, as they prefer to call it) movement gets wearisome.

So the Ban Asbestos Now team wants to give a big thank you to The Daily Show for shining a light on just how ridiculous the debate has become.

The Canadian government and the asbestos industry are more interested in putting profits ahead of people. While it is not used at all within Canada, asbestos is exported to developing countries with far lower safety standards. India alone imports 400,000 tons of chrysotile a year.

And while the Canadian government and asbestos industry argue that “their” chrysotile asbestos is safe, it is anything but. More than 100,000 people die from asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer every year.

In this video, Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi takes on Bernard Columbe, the man spearheading the expansion of the infamous Jeffery Mine in Asbestos, Quebec and Asbestos Town Director Georges-André Gagné. Some of our favorite quotes include:

  • Aasif Mandvi: “Does ‘asbestos’ mean something different in French than it does in English? Because in English is means ‘slow hacking death.’”
  • Georges-André Gagné: “Asbestos has been banned in some parts of the world, but here in Quebec, we are saying ‘use more asbestos.’”
  • Bernard Columbe: [It’s okay for the Indians to use asbestos because] “Indians are used to the pollution. It’s like they have a natural antibiotic.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

One thing not mentioned in this brilliant piece: even though we laugh at the Canadians for pushing asbestos, it’s actually not banned in the United States.

Learn more about the asbestos industry and make your voice heard by writing Congress and urging them to ban asbestos today.