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 Bianchi family 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.
Since the toxic set of minerals provided so much strength, as well as heat and flame resistance, its use was ubiquitous. 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 Bianchi family expressed concern that many countries are continuing to use asbestos.
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“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.”