While hard to believe, asbestos was once considered the “miracle mineral.” The fibers were considered cutting-edge and multi-faceted, used in everything from fake snow to pipes. Today, it is considered a dangerous and deadly substance banned by many countries. Mesothelioma, often the outcome of asbestos exposure, is responsible for the illnesses and deaths of countless U.S. residents who were exposed to the deadly substance.
Perhaps the “miracle” is that more people haven’t fallen ill or died.
Canada Taking Action
The end of 2018 saw Canada banning asbestos six years after mines were shuttered. The move will have a trickle-down effect as the country was a prominent exporter to many developing countries. However, some consider it too little and too late. Asbestos may no longer be mined in the Great White North, but its presence remains, insulating homes, schools and government buildings.
According to Carex Canada, more than 150,000 citizens continue to be exposed, including, carpenters, pipefitters and ship builders.
Pictures Speak A Thousand Words
Photographer Louie Palu recently published “A Field Guide to Asbestos,” a book that depicts the aftermath of the carcinogen over the course of 15 years. Instead of stories, Palu uses images to tell a story, allowing readers to get up close and personal, revealing struggles victims in Canada and throughout the world still endure. One of the more shocking images in the book reveals workers in India handling asbestos without any type of protection.
Palu’s research also revealed perhaps the biggest tragedy surrounding mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseased. Deaths do not occur en masse, something that would receive considerable media attention. Instead, the “silent killer” takes victims one at a time, quietly and with little attention or action to stop its continued use.