This paper draws together the mortality experience for a cohort of some 11000 male Quebec Chrysotile miners and millers, reported at intervals since 1971 and now again updated. Of the 10918 men in the complete cohort, 1138 were lost to view, almost all never traced after employment of only a month or two before 1935; the other 9780 men were traced into 1992. Of these, 8009 (82%) are known to have died: 657 from lung cancer, 38 from mesotheliona, 1205 from other malignant disease, 108 from pneumoconiosis and 561 from other non-malignant respiratory diseases (excluding tuberculosis). After early fluctuations. SMRs (all causes) against Quebec rates have been reasonably steady since about 1945. For men first employed in Asbestos, mine or factory, they were very much what might have been expected for a blue collar population without any hazardous exposure. SMRs in the Thetford Mines area were almost 8% higher, but in line with anecdotal evidence concerning socio-economic status. At exposures below 300 (million particles per cubic foot) x years, (mpcf.y), equivalent to roughly 1000 (fibres/ml) x years-or, say, 10 years in the 1940s at 80 (fibres/ml)-findings were as follows. There were no discernible associations of degree of exposure and SMRs, whether for all causes of death or for all the specific cancer sites examined. The average SMRs were 1.07 (all causes), and 1.16, 0.93, 1.03 and 1.21, respectively, for gastric, other abdominal, laryngeal and lung cancer. Men whose exposures were less then 300 mpcf.y suffered almost one-half of the 146 deaths from pneumoconiosis or mesothelioma; the elimination of these two causes would have reduced these men's SMR (all causes) from 1.07 to approximately 1.06. Thus it is concluded from the viewpoint of mortality that exposure in this industry to less than 300 mpcf.y has been essentially innocuous, although there was a small risk or pneumoconiosis or mesothelioma. Higher exposures have, however, led to excesses, increasing with degree of exposure, of mortality from all causes, and from lung cancer and stomach cancer, but such exposures, of at least 300 mpcf.y, are several orders of magnitude more severe than any that have been seen for many years. The effects of cigarette smoking were much more deleterious than those of dust exposure, not only for lung cancer (the SMR for smokers of 20+ cigarettes a day being 4.6 times higher than that for non-smokers), but also for stomach cancer (2.0 times higher), laryngeal cancer (2.9 times higher), and-most importantly-for all causes (1.6 times higher).
Comment In: Ann Occup Hyg. 1997 Jan;41(1):3-129072948
Comment In: Ann Occup Hyg. 2001 Jun;45(4):329-35; author reply 336-811414250
Four cases of mesothelioma in a cohort of 999 Finnish anthophyllite miners and millers are described. Three deaths were due to pleural mesothelioma and one to peritoneal mesothelioma among the total of 503 male deaths up to 1991. All four patients with mesothelioma had had long term (13 to 31 years) exposure in anthophyllite mining and milling. The latency time from the onset of employment until diagnosis was 39 to 58 years. All four patients were smokers or ex-smokers and had asbestosis. In three of the cases the pulmonary fibre concentration and fibre type were analysed by transmission electron microscopy. High concentrations (270 to 1100 million fibres/g dry tissue) of anthophyllite fibres were detected. The anthophyllite fibres were thicker and had lower aspect ratios than the values reported for crocidolite fibres retained in the lungs of patients with mesothelioma.
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All known, fatal cases of mesothelioma in the period 1960-1978 in the Province of Quebec are reviewed, because much of the world's chrysotile has been produced there and because there is also exposure to other types of asbestos. Of the 254 mesotheliomas registered, 181 were in males and 73 in females; occupational and residential histories were obtained for 91% of men and 86% of women. About 40% of male cases were probably attributable to occupational asbestos exposure; only 5.4% of females cases had been exposed occupationally. Intervals between first employment and death from mesothelioma were longer for miners and millers than for manufacturing workers: exposures of chrysotile miners and millers were mainly long and fairly low, while many factory workers had had short exposures. All tumours in miners and millers were pleural, while in factory workers, eight were peritoneal and two pleural and peritoneal. The evidence from this survey supports the view that the risk of mesothelioma after exposure to crocidolite is many times greater than that after chrysotile.
The British mesothelioma register contains all deaths from 1968 to 2001 where mesothelioma was mentioned on the death certificate.
To present summary statistics of the British mesothelioma epidemic including summaries by occupation and geographical area.
Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated for local authorities, unitary authorities and counties. Temporal trends in SMRs were also examined. Proportional mortality ratios (PMRs) were calculated using the Southampton (based on the 1980 standard occupational classification) coding scheme. Temporal trends in PMRs were also examined.
The annual number of mesothelioma deaths has increased from 153 in 1968 to 1848 in 2001. Current deaths in males account for about 85% of the cases. The areas of West Dunbartonshire (SMR 637), Barrow-in-Furness (593), Plymouth (396) and Portsmouth (388) have the highest SMRs over the period 1981-2000. The occupations with the highest PMRs are metal plate workers (PMR 503), vehicle body builders (526), plumbers and gas fitters (413) and carpenters (388).
These data reinforce earlier findings that geographical areas and occupations associated with high exposure to asbestos in the past continue to drive the mesothelioma epidemic in Great Britain. However, the trends over time suggest a change in the balance of risk away from traditional asbestos exposure industries to industries where one could describe the exposure as secondary, such as plumbers and gas fitters, carpenters, and electricians.
Mortality among 535 asbestos-exposed and 205 nonexposed employees of an asbestos-cement factory was investigated. In the period beyond 20 yr from first exposure, the exposed workers had standardized mortality ratios of 175 for all causes of death, 370 for all malignancies, 480 for lung cancer, 240 for gastrointestinal cancers, and 17 deaths from mesothelioma; the factory control subjects had mortality rates similar to the general population. The cell-type distribution of the lung cancers was similar to that occurring in middle-aged smokers. Cumulative fiber exposures were calculated for the production workers, and mortality rates for the asbestos-associated malignancies were found to have significant trends with exposure. Exposure-related lung cancer risks were noted, with a large margin of uncertainty, to be similar to those observed in an American study of manmade mineral fiber workers.
This paper describes mortality in a cohort of 324 men exposed to chrysotile asbestos and coal tar pitch used in the manufacture of electrical conduit pipe from a mixture of newsprint, bentonite, and asbestos. One death in a factory worker was attributed to pleural mesothelioma, and long-term employees experienced an increased risk of lung cancer (Standardized Mortality Ratio (SMR) 221; six deaths) and non-malignant respiratory disease (SMR 215; four deaths). In a case-control analysis, men whose jobs involved adding asbestos to the mix of raw materials were found to have a risk of lung cancer sevenfold higher (lower 95% confidence limit: 2.3) than men who had never worked at this job. Exposure to coal tar pitch is presumed to be responsible for the death of one worker from squamous cell carcinoma of the scrotum.
Total and cause specific mortality and cancer morbidity were studied among 1929 asbestos cement workers with an estimated median cumulative exposure of 2.3 fibre (f)-years/ml (median intensity 1.2 f/ml, predominantly chrysotile). A local reference cohort of 1233 industrial workers and non-case referents from the exposed cohort were used for comparisons. The risk for pleural mesothelioma was significantly increased (13 cases out of 592 deaths in workers with at least 20 years latency). No case of peritoneal mesothelioma was found. A significant dose response relation was found for cumulative exposure 40 years or more before the diagnosis, with a multiplicative relative risk (RR) of 1.9 for each f-year/ml. No relation was found with duration of exposure when latency was accounted for. There was a significant overrisk in non-malignant respiratory disease (RR = 2.6). The overall risks for respiratory cancer, excluding mesothelioma, and for gastrointestinal cancer were not significantly increased. Surprisingly, colorectal cancer displayed a clear relation with cumulative dose, with an estimated increase of 1.6% in the incidence density ratio for each f-year/ml (but not with duration of exposure).
The aim of the present study was to elucidate the possible influence of the Yersinia enterocolitica infection on long-time survival, and to describe clinical conditions associated with a fatal issue. During the period 1974-83, Y. enterocolitica infection was diagnosed in 458 hospitalized patients by antibody response or isolation of the microorganism. The patients were followed for 4-14 years (until 1987). The observed cumulative survival rates for female patients, and for the whole material, deviated significantly from the expected rates for 10 and 8 years. Two patients died in association with the acute infection, and 2 died from malignant mesothelioma during the first year of observation. 4/42 other patients died during the follow-up period from chronic multiorgan disease, 9 from malignant disease, and 2 died from hematological disorders. A very high mortality (10/22) was observed among patients who had developed chronic liver disease subsequently to the infection. We conclude that chronic conditions associated with the Y. enterocolitica infection may exert a substantial impact on long-time survival.