Canadian town Asbestos is changing its name due to ‘bad connotations’ with the cancer-causing mineral that locals say is hindering economic opportunities
- Asbestos, a town of 7000 people in southeastern Quebec, is officially changing its name
- The municipality, which was once home to the world’s largest asbestos mine, has been struggling to attract investors due to the connotations of its name
- Residents – nmany of whom have been struggling in the aftermath of the mine’s 2012 closure – will be able to vote on a new name in 2020
The Canadian town of Asbestos is officially changing its name due to its connotation with the cancer-causing mineral.
The municipality, located in southeastern Quebec and with a population of 7000 people, was once home to the world’s largest asbestos mine before its closure in 2012.
The mineral was widely used around the world to insulate buildings, before it was discovered that its fibers lead to various lung conditions and cancers.
Canada officially banned asbestos last year.
Speaking on Wednesday, mayor Hugues Grimard said the town’s name was hindering economic opportunities in the post-asbestos age.
‘There is really a negative perception around asbestos,’ he told CBC.
‘We have lost businesses that don’t want to establish themselves here because of the name.’
The Canadian town of Asbestos is officially changing its name due to connotation with the cancer-causing mineral
The open-pit mine was first opened in 1849 and was once the largest employer in the region, employing more than 2000 people
Mayor Grimard even claimed investors refused to take his business cards during a recent trip to Ohio, prompting the council to declare that the name change was in order.
A new name for the town has not yet been settled upon, but it will be debated among residents over the coming months.
‘As citizens are the ambassadors of a municipality and are the representatives of its vitality, it was obvious that the public would be involved in the process and the choice of the new name,’ Grimard is quoted as saying on Fox News.
It’s expected that the name changing process will cost around $100,000.
However, the six figure sum will be worth it for locals – many of whom are struggling in the aftermath of the closure the mine.
The open-pit mine was first opened in 1849 and was once the largest employer in the region, employing more than 2000 people.
The open-pit still remains in Asbestos following its 2012 closure. Visitors are pictured visiting the site in July 2019
piece of extracted serpentine, which contains Chrysotile Asbestos fibers. Abestos was once used around the world for building insulation, before researchers discovered its fibers caused lung conditions and cancers