Transcript: Construction Carcinogens | Apr 19, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, gray shirt, and checked blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Construction industry cancers. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says OVERALL, WORKPLACES IN
THIS PROVINCE HAVE GOTTEN MUCH
SAFER OVER THE YEARS.
BUT THAT'S TRUER ABOUT SOME THAN
OTHERS.
THOSE IN THE TRADES AND
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY STILL FACE
MANY DANGEROUS CONDITIONS AND
SUBSTANCES.
AND NOT JUST FROM THE KINDS OF
INJURIES YOU MIGHT EXPECT.
CANCERS, FROM CARCINOGENS ON THE
JOB, ARE A REAL RISK.
JOINING US NOW FOR MORE:
PAUL DEMERS, HE'S DIRECTOR OF
CANCER CARE ONTARIO'S
OCCUPATIONAL CANCER RESEARCH CENTRE...

Paul is in his late fifties, with short gray hair and a stubble. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, and a striped shirt.

Steve continues VALERIE WOLFE, EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR, OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
CLINICS FOR ONTARIO WORKERS AT
THE HAMILTON LOCATION...

Valerie is in her fifties, with white hair tied back. She's wearing a black shirt.

Steve continues AND CARMINE TIANO, DIRECTOR OF
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH SERVICES,
THE PROVINCIAL BUILDING AND
CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL OF ONTARIO.

Carmine is in his late forties, clean-shaven and shaven-headed. He's wearing glasses, a gray pinstripe suit, white shirt, and gray tie.

Steve continues HAPPY TO HAVE YOU THREE AROUND
THIS TABLE TONIGHT FOR AN
IMPORTANT DISCUSSION ABOUT
WHAT'S GOING ON IN SOME OF THE
WORK PLACES OF THIS PROVINCE,
AND TO SET UP OUR CONVERSATION,
SHELDON, IF YOU WOULD, BRING UP
THIS GRAPHIC AND LET'S SET THE
TABLE FOR THE DISCUSSION TO COME.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Construction cancer culprits. Estimated risks per year in Ontario."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
ASBESTOS, ASBESTOS... STILL
AROUND... CAUSES AN ESTIMATED
630 LUNG CANCERS IN ONTARIO EVERY YEAR.
SILICA DUST, WHICH IS FOUND IN
CONCRETE AND DRYWALL, CAUSES AN
ESTIMATED 200 WORK-RELATED LUNG
CANCER CASES EACH YEAR, AN
ESTIMATED 142,000 ONTARIO
WORKERS ARE EXPOSED.
EXPOSURE TO DIESEL EXHAUST
ACCOUNTS FOR AN ESTIMATED 170
LUNG CANCER CASES AND 45 BLADDER
CANCER CASES EACH YEAR.
SOLAR RADIATION CAUSES AN
ESTIMATED 1400 NON-MELANOMA SKIN
CANCER CASES EACH YEAR, WITH
THOSE OF COURSE IN THE
CONSTRUCTION AND AGRICULTURAL
INDUSTRIES THE MOST AT RISK.
LET'S SEE IF WE CAN FIGURE OUT
WHAT'S GOING ON HERE.
PAUL, ASBESTOS HAS BEEN BANNED.
WHY ARE WE STILL HEARING ABOUT
ASBESTOS-RELATED ILL HEALTH EFFECTS.

The caption changes to "Paul Demers. Cancer Care Ontario."
Then, it changes again to "The worst offenders."

Paul says ASBESTOS WE HOPE WILL BE BAND A LITTLE BIT
LATER THIS YEAR.
A LOT OF PEOPLE HEAR ABOUT
ASBESTOS.
THEY THINK IT HAS BEEN BANNED
FOR A LONG TIME IN CANADA.

Steve says THAT'S NOT THE CASE, EH?

Paul says UNFORTUNATELY CANADA WAS, FOR
MANY DECADES, THE WORLD'S
LARGEST PRODUCER OF ONE TYPE OF
ASBESTOS, CHRYSOTILE ASBESTOS.
WE STARTED REDUCING OUR USE IN
THE EARLY 1970s BUT WE ONLY
STOPPED MINING ASBESTOS IN
CANADA ABOUT FIVE OR SIX YEARS
AGO.
SO IT STILL REMAINS A PRETTY BIG
ISSUE FOR US, BUT PART OF THE
ISSUE IS THAT ASBESTOS, IT'S NOT
JUST WHEN YOU MINE IT, IT'S NOT
JUST WHEN IT COMES OUT OF THE
FACTORY, IT GOES INTO HOMES, IT
GOES INTO OUR HOSPITALS, OUR
SCHOOLS...

Steve says STILL?

Paul says NOW IT'S GOING TO BE STOPPING
BUT IT REMAINS THERE.

Steve says IT'S IN THE BUILDINGS.

Paul says IT'S IN THE BUILDINGS.

Steve says SO DOES THE BAN YOU
ANTICIPATE COMING LATER THIS
YEAR, DOES THAT INVOLVE RIPPING
IT OUT OF EXISTING BUILDINGS?

Paul says NO, WHAT IT'S GOING TO DO IS
STOP ANY NEW USES.
THIS IS ONE OF THE CHALLENGES.
IT'S AN IMPORTANT STEP, IT'S ONE
THAT'S LONG OVERDUE AND WE'RE
VERY HAPPY IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN,
BUT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE ASBESTOS
WITH US FOR DECADES TO COME AND
CANCER TAKES MANY DECADES TO
DEVELOP.
SO THE RATES OF MESOTHELIOMA, A
RELATIVELY RARE CANCER CAUSED
REALLY ONLY BY ASBESTOS, THAT'S
THE ONLY WELL-ESTABLISHED CAUSE,
IT'S STILL ON THE RISE WITHIN
CANADA, EVEN THOUGH WE STARTED
DECREASING OUR USE OF ASBESTOS
BACK IN THE 1970s.

Steve says SO VALERIE, WHAT ARE
THE IMPLICATIONS OF... OKAY, I
GET WE'RE NOT GOING TO MINE IT
ANYMORE, WE'RE NOT GOING TO
BUILD NEW BUILDINGS WITH IT.
WHAT'S THE IMPLICATIONS OF
HAVING IT IN AS MANY BUILDINGS
AS IT'S IN?

The caption changes to "Valerie Wolfe. Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers."

Valerie says IT MEANS IT
HAS TO BE MANAGED IN PLACE AND
THE BIG RISKS ARE WHENEVER IT'S
DISTURBED, AND SOMETIMES IT'S
DISTURBED... THERE'S LEGISLATION
ABOUT DOING SO IN A CONTROLLED
MANNER THAT ELIMINATES EXPOSURE,
BUT SOMETIMES THINGS ARE
DISTURBED BY A BASKETBALL OR BY,
YOU KNOW, SOME OTHER TRAUMATIC
EVENT TO THE BUILDING OR TO THE
PREMISES AND THEN YOU HAVE A
RELEASE THAT'S NOT CONTROLLED
AND EXPOSURE CAN STILL HAPPEN.

Steve says AND YOU PROBABLY
CAN'T TELL IF IT'S BEEN
RELEASED, RIGHT?

Valerie says NOT ALWAYS, YOU'RE RIGHT,
YOU'RE RIGHT, YEAH.
THE FIBRES THEMSELVES THAT ARE
OF CONCERN ARE INVISIBLE, WHICH
DOESN'T MEAN THERE ISN'T DIRT OR
OTHER THINGS YOU WOULD BE ABLE
TO SEE IN THE PROCESS, BUT, YES,
THE HAZARDOUS FIBRES ARE NOT
VISIBLE.
IT WILL BE... AND, YOU KNOW,
ASBESTOS WAS PUT IN THE BEST
BUILDINGS.
IT WAS ACTUALLY THE BEST PRODUCT
AT THE TIME FOR SOUNDPROOFING
AND FIREPROOFING ESPECIALLY, SO
IT'S IN OUR PUBLIC BUILDINGS
BECAUSE IT WAS THE MOST
PROTECTIVE THAT IT COULD BE, AND
NOW WE HAVE THE CHALLENGE OF
CONTINUING TO PROTECT THOSE
PUBLIC BUILDINGS THAT REQUIRE
PROTECTION AND REMOVING THAT
HAZARD EVENTUALLY.

Steve says CARMINE, WE HAVE
KNOWN ABOUT ASBESTOS FOR DECADES.
THIS ISN'T SOMETHING NEW.

The caption changes to "Carmine Tiano. Ontario Building Trades."

Carmine says BACK IN THE
1930s, IN CERTAIN TYRANNICAL
REGIMES IN EUROPE, THERE WAS
ASBESTOS AND SILICA DUST.
WHAT HAPPENED IN CANADA IS WHAT
PAUL WAS TALKING ABOUT.
WE WERE ONE OF THE BIGGEST
EXPORTERS.
AT THE SAME TIME, THAT INDUSTRY
WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING A
LOT OF THE JUNK SCIENCE THAT
WENT INTO ASBESTOS.
THERE'S EVIDENCE THAT McGILL
UNIVERSITY, WHICH A LOT OF THE
RESEARCH WAS FUNDED BY THE
ASBESTOS INDUSTRY, HAD BASICALLY
MADE COMMENTS LIKE ASBESTOS
WORKERS HAVE LESS CANCER THAN
THE GENERAL POPULATION.
INTERESTING ON THAT, IN THE
1960s, THEN THE WORK OF A
FAMOUS DOCTOR, DR. IRVIN
SELLAKOFF AT MOUNT SINAI IN NEW
YORK, CAME BACK AND SAID, HOLD
ON.
A LOT OF THIS RESEARCH DOESN'T
MAKE SENSE.
MY RESEARCH IS SAYING THAT THESE
WORKERS IN THE INDUSTRY AND
OUTSIDE OF THE INDUSTRY HAVE
HIGHER INSTANCES OF CANCERS.
THEN IT STARTED TO HAPPEN.

Steve says THE LATTER ONE IS
THE TRUTH, RIGHT?

Carmine says 100 PERCENT.

Steve says OF COURSE, YEAH.

Carmine says I WOULD ALMOST ARGUE THAT THE ASBESTOS INDUSTRY WAS THE
BEGINNING OF CREATING THE JUNK
SCIENCE.
WE KNOW WHAT THE TOBACCO
INDUSTRY DID.
I WOULD ARGUE IT WAS THE
ASBESTOS INDUSTRY IN THE
1940s, '50s, AND '60s,
THAT CREATED A LOT OF THE JUNK
SCIENCE.

Steve says NOW, IF YOU,
VALERIE, WEAR A MASK, IF YOU
HAVE EXPOSURE AS A WORKER TO
THIS STUFF, DOES THAT GET THE
JOB DONE?

Valerie says NOT REALLY,
NO, BECAUSE... I MEAN, YOU CAN
WEAR A MASK TO PROTECT YOU, BUT
YOU NEED TO HAVE... THE WAY
ASBESTOS WORK IS DONE IS UNDER
NEGATIVE PRESSURE, SO IT HAS TO
BE A SPECIALIZED VENTILATION
SYSTEM SO THAT... AND THEN IT'S
FILTERED BY A HEPA FILTER.
SO THE MASK IS LIKE ASSURANCE
BUT IT'S NOT SUFFICIENT
PROTECTION BY ITSELF.
IN FACT FOR ASBESTOS WORK TO BE
DONE, PEOPLE HAVE TO SHOWER IN
AND SHOWER OUT AS WELL BECAUSE
THE FIBRES OTHERWISE BECOME
ATTACHED TO CLOTHING AND THEN
THERE ARE WHAT ARE CALLED
SECONDARY EXPOSURE CASES, EVEN
ALLOWED BY WORKERS' COMPENSATION
BOARD, BECAUSE WORKERS HAVE HAD
THEIR HEALTH AFFECTED BY
SECOND-HAND EXPOSURE.

Steve says WHAT ABOUT SILICA DUST?
WHAT DOES THAT ACTUALLY DO TO YOU?

Valerie says IT'S AN INHALED DUST THAT
CAUSES THESE RESPIRATORY
DISEASES UP TO AND INCLUDING
LUNG CANCER, BUT SILICOSIS IS
EVEN MORE COMMON.
IT AFFECTS MORE PEOPLE.
THERE ARE DEGREES OF SEVERITY,
BUT NONE OF IT'S GOOD, I WOULD
SAY.

Steve says PAUL, AM I HEARING
THIS RIGHT?
DIESEL FUMES?
IS PEOPLE ARE GETTING IN TROUBLE
WITH DIESEL FUMES?

Paul says IT'S LONG BEEN
SUSPECTED, BUT MORE DEFINITIVE
RESEARCH WAS DONE IN THE LAST
TEN YEARS AND IT'S BEEN
CLASSIFIED AS A DEFINITE HUMAN
CARCINOGEN, AND THAT'S BIG
BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE
EXPOSED TO DIESEL, ESPECIALLY AT
WORK WHERE THE LEVELS ARE MUCH
HIGHER THAN YOU MIGHT EXPERIENCE
ON THE STREET, BUT EVEN AS AN
ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN, IT'S OF
CONCERN.

Steve says ARE YOU TALKING
ABOUT UNDERGROUND GARAGES, THAT
KIND OF THING?

Paul says UNDERGROUND GARAGES, MINING,
WHERE IT HAPPENS BELOW GRADE,
AND SOMETIMES YOU SEE BUILDINGS
IN THE WINTER WHERE THEY'VE
WRAPPED THEM UP TO KEEP A WIND
OUT OF THEM.
WELL THEN, IF A VEHICLE OPERATES
WITHIN THAT, AGAIN, DIESEL
EXHAUST CAN BUILD IN.
WE HAVE NO IDLING RULES THAT ARE
CERTAINLY NOT ALWAYS FOLLOWED,
AND MY OFFICE LOOKS ACROSS THE
STREET AT A HOSPITAL AND STILL I
SEE, YOU KNOW, TRUCKS IDLING
OUTSIDE WITH DIESEL TRUCKS...

Steve says THAT IS IRONIC.
THEY'RE OUTSIDE A HOSPITAL WITH
THE ENGINE IDLING WHEN THERE ARE
PLAINLY RULES IN PLACE TO
PREVENT THAT KIND OF THING?

Paul says YEAH, YEAH.

Steve says THAT'S NOT GOOD.

Paul says I THINK THERE'S NOT ENOUGH
CONSCIOUSNESS ABOUT REALLY THE
HEALTH EFFECTS.
IT'S BEEN WITH US FOR A LONG
TIME AND, YEAH.
WE HAVE TO CONSTANTLY REMIND
PEOPLE THAT THIS IS A SERIOUS
ISSUE, AND WE HAVE TO INTRODUCE
MORE ENFORCEMENT.

Steve says CARMINE, WHAT ABOUT,
IF YOU LIVE NEAR A CONSTRUCTION
SITE OR YOU'RE PASSING BY A
CONSTRUCTION SITE AND, YOU KNOW,
THERE'S DIESEL EXHAUST AS A PART
OF ALL OF THAT, ARE YOU IN ANY
JEOPARDY UNDER THOSE
CIRCUMSTANCES?

Carmine says WELL, I
THINK THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WOULD
BE NOT THE BYSTANDER BECAUSE
YOU'RE NOT ACTUALLY IN THE
VICINITY OF THE EXPOSURE.
IT'S THE ACTUAL WORKER I THINK
THAT'S MORE EXPOSED.
NOW, COULD THERE BE EXPOSURE TO
THE GENERAL POPULATION?
YES.
BUT THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IS THE
ACTUAL WORKER IN THE VICINITY OF
THAT EQUIPMENT.
THAT IS SOMETHING THAT, AGAIN...
I DON'T THINK ANY EMPLOYER IN
THE PROVINCE WAKES UP IN THE
MORNING AND SAYS, "TODAY I'M
GOING TO EXPOSE ANYBODY."
I THINK THAT WHAT DOES HAPPEN
IS, AS YOU START THE
CONSTRUCTION PROJECT, THE
BEST-LAID PLANS, AS A RESULT OF
CIRCUMSTANCES THAT HAPPEN,
SOMETIMES ARE JUST PUT ASIDE.
THINK OF IT THIS WAY.
IN CONSTRUCTION, WE STILL HAVE A
PROBLEM WITH WORKERS FALLING
FROM HEIGHTS.
WE STILL HAVE A PROBLEM OF
WORKERS BEING STRUCK BY AND
KILLED.
CAN YOU IMAGINE, WE'RE SAYING,
DEAL WITH THE FACTORS THAT YOU
KNOW, THAT YOU SEE.
NOW WE'RE TELLING THEM TO DEAL
WITH THINGS LIKE DIESEL OR
ASBESTOS, SILICA, THAT'S NOT OUT
THERE.

Steve says THAT THEY CAN'T SEE.

Carmine says THEY CAN'T SEE.
SO I THINK WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN
IS, WE NEED TO BE RELOOKING AT
THE WAY THE WHOLE IDEA OF WORK
IS STRUCTURED IN CONSTRUCTION.

Steve says WELL, HOLD OFF ON
THAT.
WE'RE GOING TO GET TO THAT IN A
SECOND.
IF WE REMEMBER OUR ORIGINAL
CHECKLIST, WE'VE GOT TO GET TO
SOLAR EXPOSURE.
SO THAT'S THE NEXT THING ON THE
LIST.
WHAT ARE YOU TELLING PEOPLE TO
DO IN ORDER TO REDUCE... YOU
KNOW, AS WE SUGGESTED,
AGRICULTURAL WORKERS,
CONSTRUCTION WORKERS, OUTDOORS
ALL DAY LONG, YOU KNOW, HOT SUN
IN THE SUMMER TIME.
NOT A FACTOR THESE DAYS.
BUT WHAT ARE YOU TELLING PEOPLE
THEY'VE GOT TO DO?

The caption changes to "Valerie Wolfe, @OHCOWclinics."

Valerie says WE'RE
TELLING THEM, AS IT'S REFERRED
TO IN THE BURDEN OF CANCER
REPORT, THAT YOU NEED TO PROTECT
WORKERS... WHEN WORK IS TO BE
DONE OUTDOORS, THERE NEEDS TO BE
A PLAN AROUND THE HAZARDS OF THE
SUN.
SO IT'S A CARCINOGEN, SOLAR
RADIATION, AND THERE NEEDS TO BE
A PLAN TO PROTECT PEOPLE AND
IT'S NOT TO PROTECT THE
INDIVIDUAL... IT'S TO CREATE
SHADE, BASICALLY, OR TO MANAGE
THE WORK IN WAYS THAT PEOPLE
AREN'T WORKING BETWEEN THE PEAK
TIMES OF 11:00 TO 3:00, MANAGE
THE WORK SO THAT ANY WORK THAT
CAN BE DONE INDOORS IS DONE
INDOORS, MANAGE THE WORK SO THAT
THERE'S ROTATION OF STAFFING, SO
NOT THE SAME PERSON OUT THERE
FOR 8 HOURS BUT SOMEBODY FOR TWO
HOURS, SOMEBODY FOR TWO HOURS,
SOMEBODY FOR TWO HOURS, THINGS
LIKE THAT.
THERE'S LOTS OF DIFFERENT WAYS
YOU CAN MINIMIZE EXPOSURE TO SUN.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: TVO.org. Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram."

Steve says YOU KNOW, PAUL,
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL IS GETTING
HIP TO THIS AS WELL.
I NOTICE THERE'S BEEN A CAMPAIGN
THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS TO GET
BALL PLAYERS TO PUT ON
SUN-SCREEN, WHICH, YOU KNOW, YOU
WOULD THINK IS OBVIOUS, BUT ARE
WE TALKING ABOUT ANYTHING MORE
THAN PUTTING ON SUN-SCREEN?
ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT ERECTING
TENTS ON CONSTRUCTION SITES?
OR WHAT'S INVOLVED HERE?

Paul says YOU KNOW,
PUTTING ON SUN-SCREEN, YOU'D
HAVE TO BE CONSTANTLY DOING IT
IF YOU'RE WORKING OUTSIDE.

Steve says SO IT'S MORE THAN THAT.

Paul says IT'S MORE EFFECTIVE THAN THAT
TO PUT ON PROTECTIVE CLOTHING.
YOU KNOW, BALL PLAYERS, THEY
WEAR A CAP WITH A VISOR FOR A
REASON.
YOU DON'T SEE THEM OUT THERE IN
MUSCLE SHIRTS.
I MEAN, THEY'VE GOT UNIFORMS
THAT COVER A LOT OF THEIR SKIN.
THAT IS NECESSARY TO BE DONE.
BUT PROVIDING SHADE IS ANOTHER
VERY KEY COMPONENT.
EVEN DOING SOMETHING AS SIMPLE
AS PROVIDING A SHADED PLACE SO
THAT WORKERS DURING LUNCH HOURS
AND BREAKS CAN GET OUT OF THE
SUN AND NOT ALWAYS BE SITTING IN
THE SUN WHEN THERE'S AN
OPPORTUNITY.
EVEN THAT CAN HAVE A POSITIVE
EFFECT IN REDUCING THEIR LEVELS
OF SUN EXPOSURE.

Steve says I DON'T WANT TO
INDULGE TOO MUCH IN CLICHÉS
HERE, BUT THERE IS THE ODD
CONSTRUCTION WORKER THAT DOESN'T
MIND WEARING A VERY TIGHT
T-SHIRT TO SHOW THE ABS AND
MUSCLES AND THAT KIND OF THING.
DO YOU HAVE TO CHANGE THE MIND
SET OF THAT PERSON?

The caption changes to "Reducing the risks."

Carmine says 100 PERCENT.
IN ANY STRATEGY YOU PUT IN
PLACE, YOU CAN'T SAY, WE'RE
GOING TO DO LEGISLATIVE... WE'RE
GOING TO PUT PARAMETERS FOR
EMPLOYERS.
OF COURSE IT'S GOING TO BE A
MIND SET FOR THE INDIVIDUAL
WORKER.
THAT ONLY MAKES SENSE.
THAT'S HOW YOU GET SYNERGIES FOR
THINGS TO START WORKING.
100 PERCENT.
LABOUR UNIONS, THE BUILDING
TRADE UNIONS, HAVE, WHEN WE'RE
DOING OUR TRAINING, WE DO TELL
OUR WORKERS WHAT THE POTENTIAL
EXPOSURES ARE AND WHAT MEASURES
THEY PUT IN PLACE.
BUT WE HAVE TO DO A BETTER JOB
AT IT, LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.

Steve says I MEAN, THIS IS A
PERENNIAL QUESTION, BUT, PAUL,
LET'S TACKLE THIS ANYWAY.
WE HEAR ALL THE TIME THAT STRESS
IS A BIG FACTOR IN WEAKENING THE
IMMUNE SYSTEM THAT CAN MAKE A
PERSON POSSIBLY MORE SUSCEPTIBLE
TO CANCER.
HOW ARE WE ABLE TO DISTINGUISH
THE KIND OF CANCER A WORKER
MIGHT PICK UP FOR ALL OF THE
REASONS WE'VE TALKED ABOUT SO
FAR IN THIS CONVERSATION VERSUS
ALL THE OTHER REASONS PEOPLE GET
CANCER?

Paul says WELL, YOU
KNOW, A LOT OF WHAT WE KNOW
ABOUT THINGS THAT CAUSES CANCER
ACTUALLY COMES FROM STUDIES OF
PEOPLE WORKING.
ROUGHLY HALF OF THE THINGS THAT
HAVE BEEN CLASSIFIED AS KNOWN OR
SUSPECTED CARCINOGENS BY THE
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION ARE
BECAUSE OF STUDIES OF WORKERS,
AND THAT'S BECAUSE PEOPLE WHO
WORK ARE EXPOSED AT TEN, A
HUNDRED, A THOUSAND TIMES THE
LEVEL OF THE GENERAL POPULATION
FOR SOME OF THESE THINGS, LIKE
ASBESTOS AND DIESEL EXHAUST AND
SILICA.
SO IN THE STUDIES THAT WE DO,
THEY'RE OFTEN A GROUP THAT HAS
BEEN THE MOST INFORMATIVE FOR US
IN KNOWING WHAT CAUSES CANCER,
NOT JUST AT WORK BUT IN THE
ENVIRONMENT, BECAUSE THE LEVELS
EXPERIENCED AT WORK ARE THAT
MUCH HIGHER.

Steve says OKAY.
BUT, VALERIE, I'M GOING TO GO AT
THIS AGAIN.
HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT THE WORKER
WHO GETS LUNG CANCER GOT IT FROM
EXPOSURE TO ASBESTOS AS OPPOSED
TO HIS WIFE SMOKES TWO PACKS A
DAY AND HE'S EXPOSED TO
SECOND-HAND SMOKE MORNING, NOON,
AND NIGHT?

Valerie says WELL, PART
OF THE WORK THAT GETS DONE TO
WORK UP A FILE... SO THAT'S PART
OF WHAT OUR ORGANIZATION DOES IS
PROVIDE SCIENTIFIC AND MEDICAL
REPORTS ABOUT WORK-RELATEDNESS.
THAT'S EXACTLY... THEY WOULD
TAKE A DETAILED HISTORY OF
LIFESTYLE AND OF NOT GENETICS
BUT THE FAMILY, YOU KNOW, ANY
OTHER FAMILY WITH CANCER BUT
ALSO IT'S CHARACTERIZING WHAT
THEIR DOSE, LIFETIME DOSE OF
OTHER CARCINOGENS MIGHT BE IN
THEIR WORK.
SO TAKING A DETAILED WORK
HISTORY AND THEN USING RESEARCH
AND KNOWLEDGE THAT OUR STAFF
HAVE GAINED OVER THE YEARS TO
UNDERSTAND WHAT THE EXPOSURES
WERE AND THEN YOU CAN MAKE A
MATHEMATICAL CASE FOR AN
ELEVATION.
DESPITE EXPOSURE TO SECOND-HAND
SMOKE THAT ASBESTOS, FOR
INSTANCE, IS SYNERGISTIC WITH
SMOKING, SO THAT MEANS THAT
ACTUALLY IT'S A

Steve says LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT
CONSTRUCTION SITES.
IS THERE MUCH WORK BEING DONE ON
CONSTRUCTION SITES WHERE THERE
ARE REGULATIONS TO KEEP WORKERS
SAFE BUT ARE NOT BEING ADHERED TO?

Carmine says THE ACT CAME
INTO PLACE IN 2015 OR 2016.
PRIOR TO THAT, EVERY OTHER
WORKER IN THE PROVINCE OF
ONTARIO WAS SUBJECT TO
OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE LIMITS.
CONSTRUCTION WASN'T.
WHAT WAS INTERESTING WAS THAT
THE EMPLOYER LOBBY AND THE
WORKER LOBBY GOT TOGETHER TO TRY
TO GET THOSE IN THERE.
WE'RE TRYING.
BUT I THINK WHAT IS GOING TO
HAPPEN IS, ONCE AN ASBESTOS BAN
COMES IN, THERE WILL BE MORE
DISCUSSION AND OC DISEASE WILL
JUST BECOME PART OF AN
EMPLOYER'S OVERALL SAFETY PLAN
AND WILL START DOING IT.
BUT RIGHT NOW, I WOULD LOVE TO
SAY THAT IT'S STARTING TO HAPPEN
100 PERCENT.
IT'S GOING TO BE AN EVOLUTION TO
GET IN THERE.
BUT AGAIN IT'S LIKE WHAT WE JUST
STARTED TALKING ABOUT, CHANGING
THE WAY WE DO WORK, PRACTICES AT WORK.
IT'S GOING TO BE A MIND SET CHANGE.

Steve says THERE ARE A LOT OF
PEOPLE IN THIS PROVINCE THAT ARE
DESPERATE TO WORK EVEN THOUGH
THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE OVERALL IS
VERY LOW.
RELATIVELY SPEAKING, THERE ARE
PEOPLE WHO ARE DESPERATE FOR
JOBS.
DO YOU THINK THEY ARE AGREEING
TO WORK ON UNSAFE WORK SITES
BECAUSE OF THAT?

Carmine says 100 PERCENT.
THE EXAMPLE I HEARD A COUPLE OF
YEARS AGO WHEN WE'VE HAD THE
DISCUSSION ON ASBESTOS, I WAS
TRAVELLING UP IN NORTHERN
ONTARIO AND SOMEONE TOLD ME THAT
THERE WAS A CONTRACTOR THAT WAS
DOING A RENOVATION ON A FAIRLY
LARGE BUILDING.
IT WAS A NON-UNION JOB.
THAT DOESN'T REALLY HAVE
ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS.
THAT HE WENT OUT, USED A TEMP
AGENCY, GOT SOME WORKERS TO COME
IN, RIP OUT SOME OF THE WALLS
THAT CONTAINED ASBESTOS, EXPOSED
THESE WORKERS WITHOUT EVEN
KNOWING THAT THESE WORKERS WERE...

Steve says DID THEY HAVE MASKS
OR GLOVES OR ANYTHING...

Carmine says THE PROBLEM WITH ASBESTOS,
YOU CAN PUT A MASK ON, BUT THE
SMALLER THE FIBRE, THE MORE
DANGEROUS IT IS TO YOU.
TO YOUR POINT, ARE WORKERS GOING
TO DO THE WORK KNOWING THEY'RE
GOING TO BE EXPOSED?
YES.
THE ECONOMIC REALITY.
THAT'S THE WAY IT IS.
BUT, AGAIN, ONCE THERE IS MORE
PROTECTIONS PUT IN PLACE, A
MEDIA CAMPAIGN, YOU'LL GET
PEOPLE TO KNOW WHAT THEIR RIGHTS
ARE AND I THINK THAT WILL START IT.

Steve says I PRESUME ALL OF YOU
ARE WISHING FOR A WORLD WHERE
ESSENTIALLY YOU'RE ALL OUT OF
BUSINESS AS IT RELATES TO...

Valerie says THAT IS
ABSOLUTELY CORRECT.

Steve says... OCCUPATIONAL
HEALTH AND SAFETY.
YOU WOULD LOVE EVERYBODY TO BE
SAFE AND NOBODY TO GET CANCER
AND HAPPILY WE GO ALONG.
CAN... GO AHEAD.

Carmine says ON THAT POINT, WHAT'S
INTERESTING, SOMETIMES IN THE
BUILDING TRADE I GET CALLS FROM
FAMILY.
MY LATE FATHER DIED OF... SHE'S
TRYING TO EXPLAIN IT TO ME AND I
GO, MESOTHELIOMA.
I PUT THE CLAIM IN.
THE CLAIM GOES THROUGH.
A WEEK OR TWO LATER, EVEN A
MONTH LATER WHEN THE CLAIM IS
ACCEPTED, I EITHER GET A PHONE
CALL OR A CARD FROM THE FAMILY
THANKING ME.
THAT FAMILY SHOULDN'T BE
THANKING ME.
THAT FAMILY SHOULD BE SAYING,
CARMINE, YOU WORK FOR A
SOPHISTICATED ORGANIZATION, YOU
HAVE ALL THESE RESOURCES AT YOUR
DISPOSAL, AND PEOPLE ARE GETTING
SICK.
THOSE ARE THE WORST TYPE OF
THANK YOUS THAT I GET BECAUSE
THE WORKER IS DEAD.
WHAT DID I REALLY DO?
I GOT THEM COMPENSATION.
THEY LOST A BROTHER, A FATHER.
SO, YES, I WISH THERE WAS A TIME
WHEN MY JOB WAS OBSOLETE.

Steve says WELL, HOW FAR AWAY,
PAUL, ARE WE FROM A TIME WHERE
THE WORKPLACES OF THIS PROVINCE
ARE GOING TO BE FREE FROM THIS
KIND OF RISK?

The caption changes to "The future of cancer prevention."

Paul says I THINK WE'RE
STILL A WAYS AWAY FROM IT.
BUT I HAVE TO SAY THAT THINGS
ARE CHANGING, YOU KNOW, THERE IS
AN OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE ACTION
PLAN THAT WAS STARTED IN THE
PROVINCE.
VALERIE WAS VERY INVOLVED IN IT.
BUT WHERE THEY PULLED IN A LOT
OF PEOPLE FROM THE HEALTH AND
SAFETY COMMUNITY TO TRY TO DO
THAT.
SO I FEEL LIKE IN FACT THERE'S
MORE RECOGNITION NOW OF THESE
RISKS TO THINGS LIKE CARCINOGENS
THAN THERE'S EVER BEEN IN
ONTARIO.
YOU KNOW, WE STILL HAVE TO MOVE
THAT INTO ACTION FURTHER, BUT I
DO FEEL LIKE WE'RE MAKING
PROGRESS ON THAT.
IT'S SOMETHING THAT TAKES A LONG TIME.

Steve says SURE.
LET'S PURSUE THAT.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO BE DOING MORE
OF RIGHT NOW?

Valerie says WELL, I
MEAN, THE PARTIES OF THE OC
DISEASE ACTION PLAN, THE IDEA
WAS TO FOCUS OUR ENERGIES TO
MAKE A MEANINGFUL DIFFERENCE,
AND PART OF THAT IS NOT TO DEAL
WITH IT AS AN ICEBERG THAT, OH,
MY GOODNESS, HOW DO WE PROTECT
PEOPLE FROM ALL THESE THINGS
THAT CAN HARM THEM?
IT'S TO IDENTIFY BECAUSE OF NEED
AND THE POTENTIAL FOR IMPACT AS
PRIORITIES.
BUT ONE OF THE MAIN PRIORITIES,
WHICH IS BASICALLY WHAT THIS
PROGRAM IS AMAZING FOR IS TO
RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT
OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE AS A HEALTH
RISK AND AS... BECAUSE WE'RE
NOT... WE DON'T WANT PEOPLE TO
NOT BE SAFE ANYMORE.
SAFETY IS STILL CRITICAL EVERY
DAY WHEN PEOPLE GO TO WORK THAT
THEY NEED TO BE SAFE.
BUT WE ALSO WANT THEM TO THINK
THAT THE LONG-TERM HEALTH
IMPLICATIONS... AS I WAS
THINKING ABOUT IT IN THE SHOWER,
AS I DO, MY GREAT IDEAS, IS
PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHTING TO HOME
FROM WORK BUT PEOPLE ALSO HAVE
THE RIGHT TO RETIRE IN GOOD
HEALTH AND THEY HAVE THE RIGHT
TO RETIRE ABLE TO HEAR THEIR
GRANDCHILDREN AND ABLE TO DO THE
THINGS THEY SPENT THEIR WHOLE
WORKING LIFE HOPING TO DO.
AND IF WE DON'T PAY ATTENTION TO
EXPOSURES THAT CAN CAUSE
OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE, THEN
PEOPLE CAN'T ENJOY THEIR
RETIREMENT.

Steve says CARMINE, MY
ASSUMPTION IS THAT NEW
IMMIGRANTS TO CANADA, THAT
PEOPLE THAT DON'T SPEAK ENGLISH
VERY WELL, WOULD BE THE MOST
VULNERABLE IN THIS KIND OF A
SITUATION.
IS THAT FAIR TO SAY?

Carmine says 100 PERCENT.
I GO BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS.
SOMETIMES WE DON'T LEARN FROM
HISTORY, WE KEEP REPEATING IT.
THINK ABOUT IT.
ANY IMMIGRANT THAT CAME TO
CANADA IN THE 1950s AND
'60s, THEY WERE THE ONES THAT
WERE ALWAYS EXPOSED TO THE
GREATEST HAZARDS.
LOOK AT THE ITALIAN... MY
HERITAGE, ITALIAN.
HOGS HOLLOW TRAGEDY.
YOU GET THESE WORKERS, YOU PICK
THEM UP AT THE CORNER OF
SINCLAIR AND DUFFERIN, PUT THEM
IN A PICKUP TRUCK, BRING THEM TO
A CONSTRUCTION SITE SOMEWHERE IN
NORTHERN ONTARIO OR SOMEWHERE,
THOSE WORKERS WERE BEING EXPOSED
TO HAZARDS.
THEY WERE HORRIBLE.
AND WE'RE DOING THE SAME THING
NOW.
SO I THINK THAT ANY STRATEGY
NEEDS TO START WITH A MEDIA
STRATEGY, SIMPLY TELLING WORKERS
WHAT THEIR RIGHTS ARE.
HERE ARE THE EXPOSURES THAT YOU
COULD POTENTIALLY HAVE AT WORK.
AND FROM THERE THEN YOU MOVE ON
TO THE LEGISLATIVE PART AND
ACTUALLY DO THE LEGISLATIVE
PART.
YOU START DOING THE ENTITLEMENT
PART.
AND THEN YOU START LOOKING AT
THE RESEARCH.
SO IT'S NOT ONE ACTION, IT'S
MULTIPLE ACTIONS THAT SOMEHOW
START TO PUT TOGETHER THE PUZZLE.

Steve says I DO NEED TO
ACTUALLY LAST IN OUR LAST
HALF-MINUTE HERE, BECAUSE I'M
NOT SURE WHAT YOU'RE REFERRING TO.
HOGS HOLLOW IS A PART OF NORTH
TORONTO, A FANCY PART OF TIME,
BUT IS THERE A PARTICULAR
TRAGEDY YOU'RE REFERRING TO?

Carmine says BACK IN THE 1960s, MID
1960s, THERE IS IMMIGRANT
WORKERS THAT WERE TUNNELLING
UNDER HOGS HOLLOW AND THERE WAS
A DISASTER.
THESE WORKERS DIED.
AND AS A RESULT OF THESE WORKERS
DYING, THE IMPETUS TO START
LOOKING AT HEALTH AND SAFETY
STARTED TO HAPPEN.
BUT THAT'S WHAT WE DO.
ANY TIME THERE'S A TRAGEDY, OH,
WE'RE GOING TO DO A COMMISSION,
WE'RE GOING TO START
INVESTIGATING IT.
BUT WHY DO WE HAVE TO WAIT TILL
THE WORKERS DIE?
WHY DO WE HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL
THOSE WORKERS BECOME A STATISTIC
THAT YOU READ OFF?
THAT'S RIDICULOUS.
YOU WOULDN'T DO THAT IN YOUR
HOME BUT WE DO IT WHEN IT COMES
TO OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND
SAFETY.
MAYBE, LIKE I SAID, THE BIGGEST
THING IS TO HAVE A WHOLE MIND
SET THE WAY WE LOOK AT IT.
AND I THINK VAL AND PAUL'S
RESEARCH PROBABLY IS LEADING
THAT TYPE OF IDEA.

The caption changes to "Producer: Liane Kotler, @LianeKotler."

Steve says I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT
THAT INCIDENT, SO I'M GLAD TO
KNOW ABOUT IT NOW, AND I THANK
ALL THREE OF YOU FOR
PARTICIPATING IN OUR PROGRAM
TONIGHT.
CARMINE TIANO FROM THE ONTARIO
BUILDING TRADES.
VALERIE WOLFE, OCCUPATIONAL
HEALTH CLINICS FOR ONTARIO
WORKERS, SHE'S OUT OF THE
HAMILTON BRANCH.
AND PAUL DEMERS, OCCUPATIONAL
CANCER RESEARCH CENTRE BASED
IN CANCER CARE ONTARIO.
THANKS VERY MUCH, EVERYBODY.

All the guests say THANK YOU.

Watch: Construction Carcinogens