A Town Called Asbestos

Welcome to the town of Asbestos, Quebec. These daylights,’ asbestos’ is a word witha sense of doom attached to it. But when this mine was opened in thelate 19 th century, that really wasn’t the case. Which is why they specified the city after it. This quarry simply now was the biggestasbestos mine in the world. Asbestos is a mineral, readily mined in quarries like this. It can be turned into strong, inexpensive, fire-resistant insulation, and it was used in a huge numberof house activities in the 20 th century. Either as big-hearted insularity blocks, or inceiling tiles, or merely scattered on as cladding. It was a miracle substance: it could even be entwine into garb, likemilitary uniforms or firefighters’ gloves. The catch is that it’s made up ofmicroscopic little fibrous crystals. If you smash asbestos, drop it, sandpaper it, turn it into isolation and scatter it around, those little fibres get into the airand build up in people’s lungs.Decades last-minute, people who’ve worked with absestos, or lived near an asbestos quarry, they tend to develop a particularly nastytype of cancer announced mesothelioma. Any show to asbestos fabrics, however small, can be dangerous. And in this town, there was sometimes so muchasbestos dust in the air that children could write their honours in itwhen it rectified. We know all that now, so: why haven’t they changed the figure? In 2006, the town’s then-mayortried to change it, but the relevant recommendations was voted down. And I wanted to find out why, but no-one fromthe town wanted to talk to me. I emailed quite a few places, the local government, the historical society. Everyone either said no, they weren’t interested, or exactly didn’t reply. They were polite, of course, they’re Canadian, but it wasn’t for them. And it took me perhaps a little bit too longto realise why. The identify captivates beings like meand onlookers looks just like you. I knew this video was going to be titled”A Town Called Asbestos” right away, it’s the obvious name, it’s got a ring to it.Which is why there’s already a five-part serieson YouTube from 2011 announced precisely that, developed in partnership by a researcher who invest yearswith this town. She turned her PhD into a book, also titled”A Town Called Asbestos”. Vice.com published a seriesby a German photojournalist, named “A Town Called Asbestos”. All the time, parties come on now, to documentThe Town with The Name. Some of them, like this author, are thorough and pity and take decades of record into account. Some aren’t. Some merely set up a camera by the mine overlook, come on for a couple of hours and film something. Others don’t even trip, they just make funof them from the other side of the world. “Why? Because the town’s refer is Asbestos.”[ AUDIENCE LAUGHTER] How do you feel about the epithet? Why don’t you remained unchanged? They’ve answered these same questionsfor years, and I suspect they’revery, very tired of it.The clearest answer that I’ve acquisition is froman interview in the Globe and Mail in 2016. Ghislain Tessier, vice-president of a localchamber of busines, said: “Asbestos was our lives.It was our heritage.” And I think that’s the key to why this townis still announced Asbestos. Because, yes, for most of the world, the specify is alarming. But now, that’s tempered with the fact thatthis mine, like a coal pit or a gold mine, it was how people realise their living. Mint of people manipulated in the excavation, and their parents, and their grandparents, and their great-grandparents. It was part of their identity, a mineral thatthe world wanted to use, it was established right here by them, and it saved lives, and it genuinely was something to be proud of.Asbestos, and this mine, was defended by thefolks who worked here. In’ 97, just after France boycotted asbestos, four humankinds from this city, four of the luckier ones, ranged the Paris Marathon. And they were praised in a statementin Canada’s Parliament for showing that the risks weren’t that huge. Because the risks were drastically downplayedby management and by government. Even after the world at large agreedhow perilous asbestos is, economics and the desire for profit meantthat it was still mined for decades here. This mine exclusively closed down in 2012. It’s only been a few years. Maybe the list will change, if simply to stop jackass like me coming alongand leading,’ ooh, look at this residence ‘. But not just yet. Dr Jessica van Horssen’s book is the definitivehistory of the city and the excavation, a great deal of this video is based on it, and Ithoroughly recommend it.

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