Research Programming

In order to support informed and concerted decision-making within regions that previously produced asbestos, the research program aims to develop knowledge which concerns the impacts on the health of individuals and populations, as well as the environment and ecosystems 

The ONA’s research programming is structured around four interdependent axes which allow individuals and groups to support the sustainable development of regions containing asbestos tailings.

Research objectives under each axis are intended to reflect current knowledge and to address the knowledge gap so that AMT management can make enlightened decisions about the natural or man-made presence of asbestos and other contaminants, mobilization, and recovery. 


Impacts on Health

This line of research focuses on the risks and health impacts of asbestos and asbestos mine tailings in different exposure contexts in the environment of regions that formerly mined asbestos.

The work is carried out with an approach of assessment and management of risks that allows for disease prevention and health protection of different demographics still containing asbestos tailings.

Such work therefore focuses on the demography and ecosystems of these regions, as well as the individuals that stay there temporarily or carry out punctual activities. 

The impacts on health will be studied in order that populations be informed so that individual as well as collective decision-making can be made with the optics towards sustainable community development.


Environmental Emissions and Dispersion

By studying emission and dispersion conditions in different contexts, researchers will be able to identify, qualify, and quantify emission sources and levels of environmental exposure of populations, individuals, and ecosystems to asbestos and asbestos mine tailings.  

Exposure to asbestos can be environmental or occupational, direct or indirect, indoor or outdoor, as well as passive or active. Exposure results from various emission sources, including soil, and the dispersion of asbestos or asbestos mine tailings into the air or water, and through natural or man-made processes. 

The studies will make it possible to anticipate and to prevent future environmental exposure risks, particularly those caused by recovery projects of asbestos mine tailings; but also by global environmental changes, such as climate change and extreme weather events. 

Activities that are potential sources for causing asbestos emissions to enter the environment will be studied with the intention of informing populations so that knowledgeable decision-making, with a view towards the sustainable development of communities, can be made.


Management pratices and valuation of AMT

This line of research focuses on practices in the management and recovery of asbestos mine tailings throughout different periods and in different jurisdictions, in Quebec and elsewhere. 

The work of this axis will focus on, among other things, public policies, regulatory frameworks and standards, as well as their application and their impacts. 

Health and environmental risk management practices will be assessed in order to identify best risk prevention practices in a context of transforming a liability into a sustainable asset.  

The mobilization and valorization of AMT will be considered by looking at inter-generational legacy globally and in particular with regard to their impacts on health, from a single health and sustainable development perspective.


Community development

In regions where asbestos was formerly produced, this axis will study the conditions favorable to the development of communities based on their history, their current realities, their aspirations, and their capacities for development. 

By considering the principles of inter-generational equity, the axis will focus on the notions of social and environmental justices applied to such regions. 

The work of this axis will make it possible to take a critical look at the living conditions and the quality of life of populations in asbestos communities through time. Interest will be placed on elements favoring a harmonious development of the communities with their environment, in particular, by studying the constraints and possibilities of development and spatial planning in an asbestos context.  

This axis will also identify ways in which to strengthen the capacity of communities to act in order to foster their commitment to their development, with full knowledge of the issues associated with their environment.