Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Journal of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI). Asbestos Free India campaign of BANI is inspired by trade union movement and right to health campaign. BANI has been working since 2000. It works with peoples movements, doctors, researchers and activists besides trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Canadian asbestos a far-reaching killer

By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer, July 20, 2012

A Belgian activist who lost his parents and brothers to disease caused by asbestos mined in Canada will speak at this year’s Walk to Remember Victims of Asbestos in Sarnia.

Stacy Cattran, who is organizing the second annual walk Sept. 29, 11 a.m., at the Dow People Place with her sister Leah Nielsen, said they met Eric Jonckheere at a conference in Los Angeles earlier this year and invited him to speak at the walk.

Jonckheere, president of the Belgium society for asbestos victims, appeared in a documentary about Sarnia, Land of Destiny, Cattran said.

His family lived across the street from the factory where his father worked with asbestos from Canada.

“He lost his father, his mother and two brothers to mesothelioma or asbestos-related disease,” Cattran said. “And, he has asbestos in his lungs.”

She said Jonckheere hopes to visit Quebec while in Canada to speak out against Quebec’s decision to provide a $58-million loan allowing the Jeffrey asbestos mine in that province’s Eastern Townships to reopen.

Hearing of the plan to reopen the mine convinced Jonckheere to accept the invitation to the walk, Cattran said.

She and Nielsen organized the first walk last fall, which attracted more than 400 people to Sarnia’s Centennial Park to remember victims of asbestos-caused disease and call for an end to Canada’s mining and exporting of the mineral.

The sisters became activists after their father, an electrician who worked for a time in Chemical Valley, died of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

Cattran called Quebec’s decision to help the mine “heart-breaking” but added she wasn’t completely surprised.

“We knew the Quebec government was quite eager to give them the money.”

Cattran said they’re working to attract even more people to this fall’s walk than last year.

“We hope we can send a really strong message to both the federal government and the Quebec government that Canadians don’t want” asbestos mining to continue in their country, Cattran said.

She and her sister have also been pushing for a public inquiry into Canada’s history with asbestos.

Information about the walk can be found online at

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