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Mesothelioma Risk not Diminished by Low Level Asbestos Exposure

A new report published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine is indicating that mesothelioma is a risk no matter how high or low the level of asbestos exposure occurs.  The information was culled from data gathered as part of the Netherlands Cohort Study, a study that has been conducted since 1986 that involves over 58,000 men and over 62,000 women. By following the diet and health of this large group, a great deal of important data has been available for a number of studies. In this particular study the goal was to learn more about the relationship between exposure to asbestos and the risk of cancer. Data regarding each of the men’s job history was compared to already existing information about how the risk of asbestos exposure in each occupation. The information was then compared to the men’s health history with a specific eye to whether they had been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other types of cancer.

The study found that 17 years later among the thousands of men followed, there were 2,324 who had been diagnosed with lung cancer, 166 who had been diagnosed with laryngeal cancer and 132 diagnosed with mesothelioma, the most dangerous of all of the diagnoses. Mesothelioma is always considered to be fatal, in large part because it takes so long to appear after exposure to asbestos. In many cases the symptoms take decades to appear, so that the disease is far too advanced at the time of diagnosis for treatment to be effective.

In analyzing the data about the impact of occupational exposure on the incidence of different diagnoses, the researchers found that lung adenocarcinoma and glottis cancer were both more likely to be diagnosed in those who had substantially higher and longer exposures to asbestos. But mesothelioma, as well as other forms of lung and throat cancer, was present regardless of whether the asbestos exposure was at a high level or a lower level.

These results are in keeping with what medical science and research had already indicated about mesothelioma and its association with asbestos exposure, and is why the deadly material now carries stringent rules in the United States and in other parts of the world about correct and safe methods of disposal, as well as concerns regarding even small levels of exposure.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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