Workers Health & Safety Centre

Sarnia Event to Remember Asbestos Victims

Request for QuoteExposure to asbestos continues to be the single largest killer of workers in Ontario.
On Saturday, September 14, 2013, organizers of Sarnia’s third annual Walk to Remember Victims of Asbestos and Occupational Disease intend to again shed light on the continued efforts needed to prevent future suffering. Equally important the event will remember the victims and show support to their families and friends along with those who continue to suffer with these illnesses.

What:    Walk and Candlelight Vigil to Remember the Victims of Asbestos Exposure
When:   Saturday, September 14th, 2013, 6:45 pm
Where: Court of Flags, Centennial Park, Sarnia, Ontario (London Rd & Front St)
Who:     All welcome

Over the past 20 years, more than 1000 Sarnia-area workers have been documented as sustaining an asbestos-related illness or death, according to the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW). Many more in Sarnia and across Ontario suffer in silence, unaware their illness or that of a friend or loved one was caused by asbestos exposure at work decades earlier.
This tragic trend of asbestos-related suffering though knows no boundary.
Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates more than 100,000 workers die each year from asbestos-related disease such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. In less developed nations where the use of asbestos continues and exposure control standards are minimal or non-existent many predict more catastrophic health outcomes in the years and decades to come.
Even here in Canada, experts predict the peak of suffering has yet to be reached.
According to Dr. Paul Demers, Director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre, more than 150,000 Canadian workers are regularly exposed to asbestos on the job, during building maintenance, repair and demolition, and in auto repair shops. “Asbestos-containing materials are still in homes and buildings throughout the country”, says Demers. “Many may be unaware they have been exposed.” Given this, Demers believes many more lung cancers are likely attributable to asbestos exposure.
The upcoming Sarnia event is being organized by the Victims of Chemical Valley (VOCV). This community-based group supports workers and others who have contracted a work-related injury or disease. More than 500 participants marched in last year’s walk that ended at the Victims of Chemical Valley Memorial in Centennial Park.
This year event organizers hope to exceed this total but they won’t be gathering at the VOCV Memorial. Earlier this year asbestos was uncovered in soil samples collected in Centennial Park.
The city erected temporary fencing around part of the park that includes the VOCV Memorial.
Event organizers intend to turn part of this fence into a memorial to workers killed as a result of exposure to asbestos and other occupational diseases. They encourage those who’ve lost a friend or family member to bring a photograph of the victim. The photo should have a hole in it and bring along a ribbon so it can be attached to the fence.
Want to know more about the Walk to Remember Victims of Asbestos?
Want to know about an Asbestos Symposium held on Sept. 27, 2012?
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