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 Featured Title
A Town Called Asbestos
Environmental Contamination, Health, and Resilience in a Resource Community
Jessica van Horssen  

$95.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 1/15/2016
ISBN: 9780774828413    

$32.95 Paperback
Release Date: 7/1/2016
ISBN: 9780774828420    

256 Pages

Nature | History | Society series


About the Book

For over a century, manufacturers from around the world relied on asbestos to produce a multitude of fire-retardant products from building materials to auto parts to household appliances. As use of the mineral became more widespread, medical professionals discovered it also had harmful effects on human health. Mining and manufacturing companies downplayed the risks to workers and the general public, but eventually, as the devastating nature of asbestos-related deaths became common knowledge, the industry suffered a slow, terminal decline.

A Town Called Asbestos looks at how the people of Asbestos, Quebec, worked and lived alongside the opencast Jeffrey Mine, the largest chrysotile asbestos mine in the world. Dependent on this deadly industry for their community’s survival, the town’s residents developed a unique, place-based understanding of their local environment; the risks they faced living next to the giant opencast asbestos mine; and their place within the global resource trade. This book unearths the local-global tensions that defined Asbestos’s proud and painful history and reveals the challenges similar resource communities have faced - and continue to face today.

About the Author(s)

Jessica van Horssen is a senior researcher in the Department of History and Archaeology at the University of Chester, England. Her research mainly focuses on asbestos and environmental health in Canada and along the global commodity chain. She has published in international journals on the community of Asbestos, asbestos-related disease, and changing landscapes in resource communities.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword: The Long Dying / Graeme Wynn
List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Introducing Asbestos

1: Creation Stories: Asbestos before 1918

2: Land with a Future, Not a Past, 1918-49

3: Negotiating Risk, 1918-49

4: Essential Characteristics, 1918-49

5: Bodies Collide: The Strike of 1949

6: "Une ville qui se deplace," 1949-83

7: Useful Tools, 1949-83

8: Altered Authority, 1949-83

Conclusion: Surviving Collapse: Asbestos Post-1983



"A Town Called Asbestos is, quite remarkably, the first book-length study to consider the environmental history and geography of this storied and troubled place … van Horssen’s interest is clearly focused on Asbestos, but her account - which engages broad intellectual horizons and sharpens understanding of the human condition - ranges widely across disciplines, their literatures, and the face of the earth."
-From the Foreword by Graeme Wynn

"The scholarship is first rate. The story is compelling. This is a vitally important book given all the harm that asbestos still causes throughout the world."
-Gerald Markowitz is Distinguished Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, and the author of several books including Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution

Sample Chapter

Sample Chapter [PDF]

Related Topics

Environmental Studies

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of A Town Called Asbestos from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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