According to data from the newly-released Canadian National Asbestos Inventory, seven federal buildings in the Hamilton area contain asbestos.
The carcinogen is present at:
The four Standard Life Centre buildings at 120 King St. W
The Robert Thomson Building at 110 King St.
An office at 1550 Upper James St.
and The Burlington Lift Bridge at Eastport Drive.
According to the list, all of the buildings-except for the office on Upper James-have an “asbestos management plan” in place.
The government’s major property owner, Public Services and Procurement Canada (formerly Public Works), has developed the National Asbestos Inventory.
The list names all buildings owned or leased by the department and says whether or not they have asbestos.
National health and safety officer with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), Denis St-Jean, says having a list is good, but there should be more detail about the hazard.
While asbestos isn’t necessarily dangerous on its own, it becomes a problem when the fibre is distributed.
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, asbestos fibres are easily inhaled, and can cause fibrotic lung disease and changes in the lining of the chest cavity. Long-term inhalation of asbestos also increases the risk of lung cancer.
St-Jean adds, “if the hazard is present, not only does the worker have a right to know about that hazard, but I think the public — if they do have access to that building — should know that there’s a hazard in that building.”
Asbestos is also present in nearby Brantford at buildings at 58-70 Dalhousie E. and an office in Burlington at 3027 Harvester Rd.