The Honorable Pat Martin, an MP (Member of Parliament) from Winnipeg and a former mine worker, is heading to Toronto to participate in a lung screening in hopes of focusing attention of the plight of others like him who were exposed to asbestos on the job.
Martin, who has long been an advocate of a nationwide asbestos ban for Canada, will travel to Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital where, along with 6 other asbestos workers from Sarnia, Ontario, will undergo a low-radiation CT scan to determine whether or not his lungs have been affected by his past exposure to asbestos.
“Canada has been the leading exporter of asbestos,” says Mr. Martin, “but has done little to properly monitor the thousands of Canadian workers with a history of asbestos exposure. I hope that my presence will highlight the importance of seriously addressing the need for banning asbestos, securing fair compensation, and initiating a national asbestos disease registry to aid in identifying the full extent of the problem.”
Sarnia’s Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) has already registered 950 workers that show signs of asbestosis or pleural plaques, spots on the lungs that have hardened or thickened due to asbestos exposure. A press release by OHCOW states that each of these individuals is being invited to participate in the lung screening study.
“We do not yet know that CT-scanning is the most appropriate medical surveillance procedure for asbestos-exposed workers but it provides hope for this high risk population,” said Dr. Jim Brophy, Executive Director of the clinic. “We believe that Mr. Martin’s participation helps to highlight nationally the continuing public health crisis created by asbestos which few health agencies acknowledge or understand.”