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Respiratory Illness In Asbestos Contaminated Sites: The Role Of Environmental Exposure

P. Comba, L. Fazzo, A. Zona
Published 2011 · Medicine

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Over the last few years, advances in the assessment of the burden of disease caused by asbestos have taken place, even though the health impact of this agent has been investigated for about a century. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has recently concluded that there is a causal role of asbestos in laryngeal and ovarian cancer, in addition to the previously assessed links with lung cancer and mesothelioma [1]. A European Respiratory Society position paper [2] endorsed the notion of an ongoing mesothelioma epidemic that is expected to peak around 2020 in Western European countries, where asbestos consumption reached its maximum in the mid-1970s and subsequently decreased until its final ban. Currently, Asia and parts of Eastern Europe use ∼70% of the world’s production of this mineral, which is also extracted and employed with varying degrees of control and restrictions in Canada, and in parts of Africa and Latin America. Globally, mesothelioma occurrence in the years 1994–2008 was ∼174,000 cases reported in 56 countries and ∼40,000 more cases estimated in countries with the presence of asbestos in the absence of mesothelioma reporting [3]. The health effects of environmental exposure caused by residence in neighbourhoods with asbestos quarries and factories are one of the priority topics for scientific research in this domain. This problem was originally reported by Wagner et al. [4] in 1960. The issue has since been extensively investigated, bringing to light a range of outcomes and exposure circumstances that have …
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