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Researchers Call Mesothelioma a Global Epidemic

Despite the best efforts of the World Health Organization and other global organizations, it appears that there is no slowdown in the incidence of mesothelioma around the world. In fact, there are signs that the problem may be on the rise in some regions.

A study by researchers Claudio and Tommaso Bianchi of the Center for the Study of Environmental Cancer in Monfalcone, Italy looked at data from international cancer registries, as well as anecdotal and scientific information that they obtained from scientists studying the disease. Their conclusions, which identified countries with the highest rates of mesothelioma, were published in a recent edition of the Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

What the Bianchis found was not earth shattering in its content, but disturbing in what they learned about the lack of progress that has been made over the years. It comes as no surprise that the countries with high incidence of the rare and fatal cancer are those that experienced building booms during the period when asbestos was most heavily utilized. Because the mineral provided so much strength, as well as heat and flame resistance, its use was ubiquitous, which now means that both those who were involved in the original building process and those who are now responsible for remodeling or demolishing those buildings are at high risk. The two countries that have the highest per capita mesothelioma rate are Australia and the United Kingdom.

The researchers’ greatest concern amidst the data that they’ve collected is the fact that they see little or no decline in the disease, an indication that many countries are continuing to use asbestos despite the known health risks, which include lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. In fact, several countries are showing an upward trend, including Australia and New Zealand, and high numbers are also being seen in locales as diverse as Malta, Belgium and The Netherlands. Japan and Central Europe are both maintaining low occurrence rates, and many other countries simply do not collect or share the data regarding the disease rate.

Based on their findings, the Bianchis have expressed concern that many countries are continuing to use asbestos. “The mesothelioma epidemic does not show any signs of attenuation. The lack of data for a large majority of the world does not allow that the consciousness of the risks related to asbestos exposure is reached.”

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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