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.

  • Lata Bhoj
    Lata Bhoj   15 hours ago

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

  • DBA
    DBA   2 days ago

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

  • Step Back History
    Step Back History   3 days ago

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

  • hellcat1988
    hellcat1988   3 days 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   5 days 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.

  • oxygenftw
    oxygenftw   1 weeks ago

    Go to wittenoom while there's still people there

  • Killing DeadThings
    Killing DeadThings   1 weeks ago

    I worked with asbestos growing up many times. I remember my dad cutting it with an electric saw. How we managed to avoid breathing it in is beyond me.

  • madman
    madman   2 weeks ago

    "They were polite, of course, they're Canadian.">Quebecois>polite

  • Aqua Mew
    Aqua Mew   2 weeks ago

    Quite honestly, it's on those guys who refuse to change the name of the town. of course people are going to make fun of you. That's why we don't name our kids Fart or Assbag.

  • Veteran Kamikaze
    Veteran Kamikaze   2 weeks ago

    They stopped mining it in 2012, that was a genuine surprise.

  • Nic Flatterie
    Nic Flatterie   2 weeks ago

    Thanks for understanding and presenting their perspective. I have relatives that lived there (and died of amiantose). It was indeed their lives for generations. Well done on your part.Merci, from Québec.

  • PiggieFatNose
    PiggieFatNose   2 weeks ago

    The town's people there may be entitled to fianacial compensation

  • Fermitu Poupon
    Fermitu Poupon   3 weeks ago

    So this is where Red Green takes place then? Is Possum Lake far from the town?

  • Skillaz
    Skillaz   3 weeks ago

    It's just quebec, my experience is people are not that friendly unless you speak french

  • Matthew Caylor
    Matthew Caylor   3 weeks ago

    All of my grandmother's brothers all died from this.

  • Maxime Tremblay
    Maxime Tremblay   3 weeks ago

    Another reason why they don't really want to change the name Asbestos is that, as a french speaking town, they don't ear the word of the mineral but just as a name. In french asbestos is ''Amiante''. And the lung sickness related to asbestos is called ''Amiantose'' (Ancient Grec for ''In stat of asbestos''). So they could have changed the name if it was called Amiante City. Or, in a lot of Quebec's city name, they simply add ''Ville'' at the end, that means city in french, to be ''Amianteville''. Because of any french word related to ''Amiante'' stroke fear since there is still people dying from asbestos-related lung disease to this day. FYI I'm from Sherbrooke (the biggest city close by) and I have family there.

  • BadGamerGood
    BadGamerGood   4 weeks ago

    In WA we’ve got a town called wittenoom which had an asbestos mine so badly run that the entire town was basically declared a biohazard, shut down and people were banned from visiting

  • Perrin Dudeck
    Perrin Dudeck   1 months ago

    This mad me a little sad and proud of Canada all at the same time. Wth.

  • Gary Lewis
    Gary Lewis   1 months ago

    A place called Gold is better then "Arsnic" an element found and used in gold minning. How about Uranium city. Then "Dildo" and "Come-by-chance". Newfoundland.

  • manic mechanic
    manic mechanic   1 months ago

    I once tore down a house of asbestos. It had a iron claw foot bath tub. And the people who built it did not have a measuring tape.

  • HamTransitHistory
    HamTransitHistory   1 months ago

    Then you have to visit the other Canadian town with an odd, ugly name: Swastika, Ontario.

  • Aus Bare
    Aus Bare   1 months ago

    Change the name change the history.

  • clarkcolt45
    clarkcolt45   1 months ago

    Quite amazing fireproof material and safe when handled with extreme care.

  • Alex Paulsen
    Alex Paulsen   1 months ago

    In Newfoundland, there's a town called Dildo.

  • why
    why   1 months ago

    Idk what you guys are talking about asbestos tastes delicious