Val-des-Sources: Canadian town of Asbestos to shed off name after notorious mineral

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Val-des-Sources: Canadian town of Asbestos to shed off name after notorious mineral - We The World
Image of a now-closed asbestos mine in the town of Asbestos (Image courtesy of Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

People of Asbestos are finally shedding off links with the highly poisonous mineral that causes fatal diseases like lung cancer and other fatal diseases.

Residents of the Canadian town of asbestos — formerly home to the world’s largest source of the once-predominant mineral — have voted 51.5% in favor of renaming their town to Val-des-Sources among five other names.

The results of the new nomenclature were announced following a four-day referendum on Monday, media reports confirmed. Asbestos, which has recorded use in pre-historic times came into the applicational boom during the Industrial Revolution.

The fireproofing properties of the mineral and its abundant availability proved widely in favor of the era of steam that needed its resilient qualities during the IR, and it later found popularity in armies as well.

Starting the late 1890s, healthcare hazards associated with asbestos started to surface up. It was a time when the use of the mineral was at its pre-war peak.

In 1906, the first death from inhaling asbestos was documented in an asbestos worker who died from pulmonary failure at London’s Charring Cross Hospital. Autopsy results found a large number of asbestos fibers in the lungs.

In the post-war era as well, demands for the mineral skyrocketed and it depleted in the late 1970s after the public began to realize the bane of the mineral.

The new name: Val-des-Sources

The new name — Val-des-Sources — means Valley of the Sources in English which attributes to the area’s location where three lakes fuse.

“It’s a name that represents our area, and especially, it’s inspiring for the future,” the Quebec town’s mayor, Hugues Grimard was quoted as saying.

The small town is home to over 7k people and is situated 93 miles (100+ km) from the Quebec city capital Montreal following the discovery of the asbestos mine in the 1870s.

Louise Moisan-Coulombe, mayor of the town from 1997 to 2002, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp on Sunday that time was there they were proud of its name, but not anymore.

“Every time you say, especially in the United States, that you are coming from asbestos, or they read asbestos on a package, they are always afraid that it will be poison.”

The pursuers of the new name will still have to pave their way through the city’s bureaucratic hurdles before the name is made final, which they expect by December this year.

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