A Town Called Asbestos

  • Published on: 21 May 2018
  • In Quebec, Canada, there's a town called Asbestos. It's an alarming name, one that conjures up images of lung disease and mesothelioma. So now that the town's asbestos mine, once the largest asbestos mine in the world, has closed... why haven't they changed the name?

    Dr Jessica van Horssen's book, "A Town Called Asbestos", was invaluable for my research. Its ISBN is 9780774828420, and it can be ordered from most libraries and bookstores.

    Her five-part YouTube series starts here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-66YqEHkzA

    The Story of Asbestos (1922): https://archive.org/details/0929StoryOfAsbestos
    According to Plan: The Story of Modern Sidewalls for the Homes of America (1952): https://archive.org/details/Accordin1952
    The Gruen Transfer: How To Sell Asbestos, Canada: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIpxelbkI0I

    USGS public domain microscopy of asbestos: https://usgsprobe.cr.usgs.gov/picts2.html

    The Canadian parliament quote is an official Hansard translation from the original French: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/eppp-archive/100/201/301/hansard-f/35-2/153_97-04-10/153SM1E.html#9543

    I'm at http://tomscott.com
    on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott
    on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott
    and on Snapchat and Instagram as tomscottgo
  • Runtime : 4:30
  • tom scott amazing places asbestos quebec jeffrey mine mesothelioma asbestosis a town called asbestos


  • Tom Scott
    Tom Scott   1 years ago

    Pull down the description for all the references and sources I used in this video! And do research the history of Canada and asbestos; there's some quite dark decisions made there.

  • cj c
    cj c   1 days ago

    If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with or suspects they have mesothelioma, and has worked in the town of asbestos you may be entitled to financial compensation . call (888)888-law , that's (888)888-law .

  • Amiable Modron
    Amiable Modron   3 days ago

    Sounds a lot like reasons people still fly the confederate flag.

  • stevenevents
    stevenevents   5 days ago

    I remember how they'd move us kids into new classrooms, so that they could replace the asbestos in the ceilings throughout the building. ☣

  • bluenoserr
    bluenoserr   6 days ago

    They're changing their name now!TOM, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE???

  • Kevin
    Kevin   6 days ago

    The mayor just announced that they will be changing the name! They are open for suggestions, let's get creative..

  • Elim
    Elim   1 weeks ago

    Who else thought of this video after the news was announced that Asbestos is officially changing its name?

  • Jason Morin
    Jason Morin   1 weeks ago

    Hey! The town decided to change it's name in 2020.

  • m01mast3r
    m01mast3r   1 weeks ago

    They will soon change the name of the town.The habitants have been asked for suggestions, the new name should be announced in 2020

  • Henlo Frens
    Henlo Frens   1 weeks ago

    They’re thinking of changing the name of the town right now, by the way

  • SardaukarQC
    SardaukarQC   1 weeks ago

    ...and they just (Nov 27) announced that they will change the name of the town in 2020.

  • Jerome L.
    Jerome L.   1 weeks ago

    Well, it's changing name, but people aren't happy about that. They will pick a new name next year ... I can only hope for Towny McTownface

  • Ellie Boucher
    Ellie Boucher   1 weeks ago

    They announced on the city’s facebook today that they were going to officially change the name in 2020. Apparently, it wasn’t optimal for economic development?

  • Zachary Pelletier
    Zachary Pelletier   2 weeks ago

    I have family that owns residences near asbestos and the lakes nearby are very nice. Please don't just refuse to visit and make fun of it. C'est très beau et je recommende juste venir voir pour vous même

  • lefty
    lefty   2 weeks ago

    Im definitely getting lung cancer

  • Emilie Poirier
    Emilie Poirier   2 weeks ago

    We speak French, and the French word for asbestos is amiante. People don’t associate the name Asbestos with amiante, it’s just the town’s name.

  • Ridz
    Ridz   3 weeks ago

    “They were polite of course, they’re Canadian “

  • Stephanie Flaherty
    Stephanie Flaherty   3 weeks ago

    We need to remember the past. But we also need to leave it alone.

  • Stanislav Tsapaev
    Stanislav Tsapaev   4 weeks ago

    Meanwhile in Russia we have a town called Asbest, where asbestos is still being mined...

  • Greninja_San
    Greninja_San   4 weeks ago

    I'm french. On the signs in the city is write "A place to be healthy". Hm.

  • Mario Merlo
    Mario Merlo   1 months ago

    You should come to Casale Monferrato in Piedmont, Italy, to see how much Asbestos was part of the ives of the inhabitants

  • Forza223 Bowe
    Forza223 Bowe   1 months ago

    How could anyone live there? There must be dust and fibers everywhere

  • Caleb TV
    Caleb TV   1 months ago


  • Apodis
    Apodis   1 months ago

    Nicely done Tom. It's easy to mock, but they were providing a product the world wanted. The consumers are just as involved as the people of Asbestos, maybe more.

  • Meaddie
    Meaddie   1 months ago

    0:41 Jam Handy ... anyone? ... no one? ...just me?

  • Lata Bhoj
    Lata Bhoj   1 months ago

    I might look dumb to ask this but what is wrong with the name asbestos? I don't get it

  • DBA
    DBA   1 months ago

    there is a town in Russia named Asbest and it still has an active asbestos mine

  • Step Back History
    Step Back History   1 months ago

    Oh hey I took a Canadian history class in undergrad taught by Jessica Van Horssen

  • hellcat1988
    hellcat1988   1 months ago

    "The were polite, of course... They're Canadian." That quip genuinely had me laughing out loud. I'm surprised more people don't talk about tramp's masters over in russia that have his picture on their asbestos products.

  • Murphy Carey
    Murphy Carey   1 months ago

    Asbestos in French is amiante. Asbestos has no real meaning except for the name of a town in French. People most likely didn’t want to talk to you because of that and also because they are French and simply cannot speak adequate English to understand what you are saying.