Asbestos is one of the most important occupational carcinogens causing about half of all deaths from occupational cancer. Currently, about 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos in the workplace, and at least 90,000 people die each year from lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis resulting from occupational exposures. In addition, it is believed that globally, despite the bans on the use, sale and trade of asbestos, thousands of deaths can be attributed to other asbestos‐related diseases as well as to non-occupational exposures. The global burden of asbestos-related disease is still rising.
Peterborough became aware of this “silent killer” more than 15 years ago, when Aileen Hughes and her two sons encouraged Local 524 of the Canadian Auto Workers to screen retirees and current workers for asbestos-related problems. Her husband, Morris Hughes died at age 71 of mesothelioma. The local CAW president at the time, Keith Riel, committed to holding clinics at the Evinrude Centre.