An art book connected to Sarnia’s deadly legacy of asbestos disease sold out a small first press run this spring before the publisher could even officially announce its launch.
Atlanta-based Yoffy Press said it’s already planning a second edition of A Field Guide to Asbestos by Louie Palu, a Canadian photojournalist who began a 15-year investigation into the impact of asbestos after travelling to Sarnia in 2003 to meet the late Blayne Kinart.
The Sarnia millwright was one of many in the city who has died from mesothelioma, a fatal cancer caused by breathing in asbestos fibers once widely used in construction and industries of what’s known as Chemical Valley.
Palu’s black and white photos of Kinart were published by the Globe and Mail in 2004 with a story about Sarnia’s experience as an asbestos disease hot spot, under the headline “Dying for a living.”
Kinart died later that year.
“His photos shook it up” said Sandy Kinart, Blayne’s widow and a member of Victims of Chemical Valley – a group formed to push for a ban on asbestos and better medical care for those with workplace disease.