Study Confirms Occupational Asbestos Exposure in Global Mesothelioma Deaths

A just-published study that appeared in the Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology confirms what advocates and victims have long known: occupational asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma deaths. After noting a troubling rise in the number of mesothelioma deaths following occupational asbestos exposure, the authors urge “effective implementation of asbestos bans” to reduce the burden of this rare, asbestos-related disease.

asbestos ban

Mesothelioma Study Analyzes Global Burden of Disease Dataset

Relying on information from the Global Burden of Disease 2019 dataset to analyze the burden of mesothelioma linked to occupational exposure, researchers from the Department of Thoracic Surgery of Nanfang Hospital and Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China looked at the number of mesothelioma deaths and disability-adjusted life years attributable to occupational asbestos exposure. 

The scientists focused on trends in age-standardized mortality rate and age-standardized disability-adjusted life year rate among mesothelioma victims by year, age, sex, country, region, and socio-demographic index. They found that though there was a decline in both from 1990 to 2019, the absolute number of deaths and disability almost doubled.

United States Reported the Highest Number of Mesothelioma Deaths in Study

Looking at reported mesothelioma deaths and disabilities linked to occupational asbestos exposure between 1990 and 2019, the group found that in 2019, 91.7% of mesothelioma deaths and 85.2% of associated disabilities were attributable to occupational asbestos exposure, and that the United States had the highest number of deaths, while China had the highest number of disabilities, with the rates of both increasing in the 75+ age group. The scientists also noted that while the highest incidence rates are growing in high-income areas, rates in low-income areas are rising.

In its conclusion, the group noted that the effective implementation of asbestos bans has proven that occupational asbestos exposure is a modifiable risk factor for mesothelioma.  They also point out that the crisis represented by mesothelioma in the global healthcare system has not been abated.  They encourage governments, companies, society, healthcare systems, and individuals to continue raising awareness of the risk of occupational asbestos exposure and to promote the implementation of bans and other protective policies to reduce the burden of mesothelioma attributable to occupational asbestos exposure.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma following occupational asbestos exposure, the Patient Advocates at can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608. 

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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