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Quebec town looking for new name

Asbestos mayor Hugues Grimard is seen outside city hall Wednesday, August 10, 2016 in Asbestos, Que. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Officials in Asbestos, Que., say they are tired of their town being named after a cancer-causing mineral that is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people around the world.

Asbestos Mayor Hugues Grimard said today in a news release the name carries an unfortunate connotation and it’s preventing the town from developing foreign business ties.

READ MORE: Canada set to announce a new ban on asbestos

He says he wants residents of Asbestos, located about 170 kilometres east of Montreal, to help come up with a new name, which will be announced sometime in 2020.

The town was founded in the late 19th century around a massive open-air asbestos mine, which closed in 2011 and has become a tourist attraction.

The open pit of the now closed Jeffrey mine is seen Wednesday, August 10, 2016 in Asbestos, Que. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Asbestos fibre was once known as “grey gold” was used in building materials all over the world until the discovery of its carcinogenic properties.

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READ MORE: Asbestos exposure leading cause of work-related deaths in Saskatchewan

The World Health Organization says the inhalation of asbestos fibres causes lung cancer, mesothelioma and other diseases and has killed tens of thousands of people globally.

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