Many of Canada's streets-including some in Toronto and Calgary-are lined not with gold, but with asbestos. The Alberta Federation of Labour doesn't like it. The labor union has accused the city government of Calgary in particular of treating the discovery of an asbestos-contaminated asphalt roadway far too casually. Calling asbestos "one of the worst workplace killers in Canada," AFL President Gil McGowan has noted that Canada's Occupational Health and Safety Code requires measures for both worker and public safety in circumstances where asbestos may be released. McGowan has stressed that asbestos exposure can cause serious disease, including "mesothelioma, a malignant cancer whose only known cause is exposure to asbestos." The labor president encouraged Calgary to take the same precautions used by Toronto, where the streets are also paved with asbestos: require road construction workers to wear hazmat suits, keep down the dust, and inform citizens of the risks and necessary safety measures. McGowan also urged that future paving projects should be asbestos-free.
Mesotheliama News, Dallas, Texas, July 29, 2008